Economic development at the focus of political parties in Kosovo

Economic development at the focus of political parties in Kosovo

IBNA Special Report

Pristina, May 16, 2014/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Elton Tota

Ahead of the electoral campaign, political parties in Kosovo have started to unveil their programs for the June 8 early parliamentary elections. Given the difficult economic situation of the country, political parties’ programs are mainly focused on economic issues,  reports IBNA’s correspondent in Pristina.

Leader of the Democratic Party of Kosovo, Hashim Thaci, has unveiled his economic plan in front of hundreds of entrepreneurs, promising assistance and subsidies.

Thaci has called his economic plan “The New Mission” and according to this plan, there will be 1.5 billion Euros invested in the next 4 years.

According to him, this mission has 9 points, such the allocation of the  Employment Fund, the creation of 200 thousand jobs, the improvement of the business climate, the investment of 500 million Euros in agriculture, the attraction of massive investments in the energy and mineral sector, development of education, creation of the state accommodation program through an investment of 200 million Euros along with Kosovar construction companies and the creation of 4 thousand new jobs in the domain of winter tourism, opening of the International Center of Tourism in Brezovica and the continuation of massive investments in infrastructure, absorption of funds by international donors for the construction of the highway linking the country to Skopje and the revival of the railway.

According to Thaci, the ‘New Mission” aims at boosting up economic development, the allocation of Employment Fund for the creation of new jobs and the acceleration of Euro Atlantic integration.

Democratic League of Kosovo too believes that economic development and law and order are prerequisites for European integration.

The leader of Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), Isa Mustafa, declared that the program of his party foresees in the next 4 years a sustainable economic development, creation of jobs, fight against poverty and the rule of law, as the main prerequisites for integration in the European Union.

“Our priority is economic development, creation of new jobs and fight against poverty. We have an economic growth of 2.5% and investments in public sectors, but they haven’t been able to reduce unemployment and fight poverty, because investments have not been linked to employment”, said Mustafa.

He said that under LDK program, public investments will be directly linked to the generation of new jobs and fight against poverty.

“This way, we will create 25 to 30 thousand new jobs, the majority of which will be created in the sector of agriculture”, said the head of LDK.

To strengthen small and medium sized enterprises, Mustafa said that the taxation basis will be expanded and taxes will be reduced, while VAT will no longer be paid in border crossing points, but within the territory of Kosovo, once the goods are sold. Mustafa said that it’s unacceptable for Kosovo to have such a big gap in the trade balance with other countries, when it’s known that Kosovo imports 2.2 billion Euros a year, while exporting 300 million Euros.

“Through investments in agriculture, we plan to import only 20% of the current 600 million Euros worth of products, in order for the 80% to be guaranteed by local producers. This way, we improve the trade balance and increase local production, we will create new jobs and fight poverty”, said the leader of LDK.

Leader of Self Determination, Albin Kurti has also unveiled the offer of his party for the economic development of Kosovo. He believes that economic development will come through the reformation of fiscal policies.

According to him, Self Determination bases its fiscal policies in justice and equality and to stimulate through these, domestic production, investments and creation of new jobs.

“Fiscal policies are being used by the government of Kosovo even 15 years after the war to meet two objectives: to collect budget revenues and allocate funds for public services. With Self Determination in power, we will have another 3 elements of economic development, such as growing support for the stabilization of economy and the reduction of inequality. Self Determination bases its fiscal policies on the principle of justice and equality as far as taxation and distribution of incomes is concerned in order to stimulate domestic production and then investments and creation of new jobs”, said he.

Meanwhile, leader of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, Ramush Haradinaj sees economic development closely linked to the sector of agriculture.

“Kosovo has great potential for the development of agricultural sector. The favorable climate conditions and natural resources enable the development of agriculture, agribusiness and industry of the processing of food. Our work and engagement in the “New Direction” platform, will have an impact in the growth of productivity, quality of agricultural products and will make our farmers competitive in the regional market and beyond. This is our constant commitment”, said Haradinaj. /ibna/