Kosovo is in the middle of a financial and budget crisis

Kosovo is in the middle of a financial and budget crisis

IBNA Special Report

Pristina, November 4, 2014/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Elton Tota

The political crisis which has been going on in Kosovo for the past five months, which has blocked the creation of new institutions, is seriously threatening to sink Kosovo into a financial and budget crisis.

Administration workers may only be able to receive the January 2015 salary, if parliament is not formed until then.

The delay in the constitution of parliament, which must pass the new 2015 budget, is threatening the payment of workers in the public sector.

Expert of economic affairs, Lumir Abdixhiku, who interprets article 24 of the law on the management of Public Finances, says that only January salaries can be paid.

“Article 24 of the law on the management of public finances says that the government of Kosovo, the outgoing one, is entitled to only make payments for the month of January 2015 and for no other month. It would be entitled to do this for the first two months-like several officials and ministers interpret the law-only if in the last four months of the fiscal year, elections were held, which was not the case this time”, says Abdixhiku.

Abdixhiku says that as it was warned before, there’s only 90 odd days left to build institutions, otherwise, as of February 1, 2015, no worker of the public sector can be paid without the consolidation of parliament.

Professor of Constitutional Law, Riza Smaka says that after January, there will be no salaries for public sector workers. Smaka links this to the general parliamentary elections, which have not been held in the last four months of the fiscal year. Smaka says that if February salaries are paid, then the government would break the law.

“In normal circumstances, the government would fall and a lawsuit would start. I don’t think the government will break the law with both feet”, says Smaka.

Nevertheless, Smaka hopes that until then, a solution will be found in order for workers to be paid.

Ministry of Finance says that based on the law, there will be payments until March of next year.

“Based on the law for the management of Public Finances and the law for the budget of Kosovo, every budgetary organization will receive in January and February 1/12 of the general funds received in 2014. Salaries and expenses for workers of public sector can be secured for the first two months of next year. Problems start if the budget is not passed until March. Then, payments and other expenses will be made without a parliament decision”, says Gezim Baxhaku, adviser of the acting minister of Finance, Besim Beqaj. /ibna/