Albanian PM Vows to Grant State Aid to Support Business in Key Sectors

Edi Rama chairing the Albanian National Economic Council
Edi Rama chairing the Albanian National Economic Council

Tirana, Oct 28 (Tirana Echo) – Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama has vowed to guide state aid towards supporting business in key sectors of the economy, amid accusations of former government’s mismanagement of economic policies.

Rama’s comments were made during the latest meeting of the National Economic Council of Albania which noted that during the past three years there has been a new orientation of policies for state aid to support priority sectors and their harmonization with fiscal and employment policies.

Policies for state aid have been reviewed to reorient the support to priority sectors and to coordinate this aid with fiscal and employment policies. For the first time we have created a mechanism closely linking state aid to employment, helping those sectors that guarantee more employment for Albanians”, said Edi Rama.

The sectors that benefited most from state aid in 2015 were agriculture with 25% of the total, water supply and sanitation with 7%, transport with 7%, and then employment promotion with 4.6%.

Rama did not miss a chance to have a go at his democratic predecessor Sali Berisha accusing his policies as favoring unfair competition and in breach of EU legislation.

The amount of state aid in Albania during 2007-2012 was almost the same as the bill that the previous government left as unpaid debts for investment or services received from third parties. In this case, 631 million Euros. In our view, a serious problem is that the Albanian state used aid in contravention of the EU legislation, and often to favour unfair competition”, Said Rama referring to former PM Berisha’s policies.

Comments come as the World Bank significantly improved Albania’s rating in its annual ‘Doing Business’ review arguing that the progress achieved in implementing reforms indicated the government’s dedicated commitment to improving the business environment necessary for economic growth and job creation.

While the centre-left Government of Edi Rama paint a rosy picture, the opposition democrats accuse the Government of failing to produce any economic results with unemployment at high levels and hundreds of thousands of youth leaving the country to seek asylum in EU countries like Germany or the Netherlands.

According to the latest World Bank data, 45.5% of the Albanian people live with less than 5 dollars a day, a chunky 30% increase from its 2012 index.

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