Economy: Optimists for what and whose statistics?
On May 21, during the plenary session in parliament, minister Ahmetaj declared that ‘’2014, check statistics and here I am referring to the citizens, is the first year that offered an increase of 9% in employment, new jobs, 9%. It is the first year in the last 22 years’’.
It is not clear which statistics the minister is referring to, because official statistics for 2014 say that ‘’compared to last year employment has increased by 1.3%’’ and, not 9% as the Minister declared.
Regarding trade, the Minister declared that ‘’exports increased last year by 3.8%. This means that the production structure in Albania is consolidating and increasing the quantity and value of exports.’’
In this case the Minister was right in the figures he provided, but it is hard to say for sure that the production structure is strengthening, because we also have to say that in 2014 there was an annual increase of 6.7% in imports and the trade deficit rose by 9.4%.
Exports, seen under such a positive light from the Minister, in reality for 2014 covered 46.3% of imports, while a year ago this indicator was 47.6%. This shows a weakness of exports towards imports, which is reflected in the worsening of trade deficit.
In April 2015 export of goods experienced a decrease by 10% compared to April 2014 and 7.8% compared to March 2015. In April 2015 even import in goods dropped by 2% compared to April 2014 and 2.2% compared to March 2015. Trade deficit this month increased by 6.5% compared to April 2014 and 3.3% compared to March 2015.
These indicators were always negative for trade in Albania since the beginning of the year, therefore it seems out of place to talk about our trade situation optimistically, getting thus away from reality.
Talking about enteprises and investments in the country, the Minister had a good news when saying that ‘’…the Council of Ministers concluded the 15th contract for 1 Euro. At a bare minimum 120 new jobs in Berat. In areas that are still outside the main economic development axis there are flowers that bloom with 120 new job positions’’.
From this perspective it seems that foreign investments and enterprise in Albania are flourishing. However, this is unfortunately not the case. Because there are also very negative news this month such as the closure of the only German industrial company operating in Albania, or the pharmaceutic company GlaxoSmithKline, which made public the decision to limit its representation in Albania. Not forgetting that the furniture company F.P.M shpk transferred its activity in a cheap area between Serbia and Romania.
According to statistics of payment sheets of the Bank of Albania for 2014, the item equipment in Direct Investment, which implies outgoing flows of direct investment reached 76 million euros, from, 22 million euros of the year before.
A question arises: what are 120 new jobs compared to the exodus of such a capital?
At the same time when in April 2015 the yearly change of the index of consume prices was 2.3% the government reduced economic aid for unemployed and people in need by 2.66 billion leke. Such a measure is not characteristic of a leftist government, but of an executive that satisfies the interest of big creditors, to repay loans to them. Is it clearer now what are the structural causes of the Albanian economy that forces people to flee to European countries?!
2- How much more misused money to bring tourism back on track?
On 21st of May Minister Ahmetaj had a meeting with Albanian touristic operators, to whom he expressed his conviction hat ‘’2015 is the best year for tourism, the best year for tourists, the best year for accommodating structures, hotels and resorts…’’
This view is not shared by the World Tourism Council, according to which the direct contribute in the GDP of the Albanian tourism is expected to drop by 2.1% this year. Lets hope this Council has the wrong statistics and not the ‘’correct’’ ones like those often used by the Minister.
Maybe the World Economic Forum is also wrong for not being so optimistic, as according to the Report on Travel Competitiveness and Tourism 2015, it ranked Albania last in the region, among which Croatia ranks 33rd, Montenegro 67th, Macedonia 82nd (without a sea) and Serbia 95th, while Albania ranks 106 out of 141 states.
Going back to figures from our official institutions, which are also not portraying a rosy picture. Albania in 2014 had approximately 400 000 tourists more than 2013, but this increase is still lower than the progressive increase of the country from year to year since 2010, excluding 2013, which after a decades of increase, was the only year that saw a decrease in touristic inflows.
The number of entries of foreign citizens in border crossings for the 2005-2014 period has increased on average 19.9% per year, while the latest year was well below this average by stopping at 12.8%. This is compared to 2013 the most negative year of the last decade. If we compare it to 2012 the increase would only be 4.5%.
What is happening that the average rhythm of tourism increase in Albania is experiencing a slow down, when according to the WTO tourism at the international level is increasing by 50% in less than 20 years? Why this slowdown is happening after the current government took power? Maybe because of the economic damage of 92 million leke from the budget and approcimately 600 million leke caused by the National Tourism Agency (AKT)? From the latter it is expected to promote tourism not to use funds to accommodate Miss-es in hotels and to keep race motors in its storage, which has nothing to do with promoting tourism. The High State Audit has denounced in the Prosecutor’s Office the head of this institution and recommended her removal, while no measures have been undertaken by her superiors to address this issue.
Maybe the use of 92 million leke every year for 4 years might not have done touristic wonders, however it could have moved Albania up the ranking in terms of competitiveness and it would have returned the normal levels of increase of touristic flows, which is undeniably a duty of those who promote tourism. The latter have also spent hundreds of millions of leke in fairs without any criteria, an issue that has been addressed by APPA in the preceding reports.
1- Revista Monitor, 07.05.2015, http://www.monitor.al/raporti-i-konkurrueshmerise-se-turizmit-shqiperia-e-fundit-ne-rajon/
3- Ministria e Ekonomisë, 21.05.2015,
4- Instituti i Statistikave, “Shqipëria në Shifra”
5- Revista Monitor, 25.05.2015, http://www.monitor.al/keshilli-boteror-i-turizmit-2015-a-viti-me-renie-per-turizmin-shqiptar/
6- Gazeta Mapo, 30.04.2015, http://www.mapo.al/2015/04/shqiperise-i-largohet-kompania-e-vetme-industriale-gjermane
7- Gazeta Mapo, 17.05.2015, http://www.mapo.al/2015/05/qeveria-ul-ndihmen-ekonomike-2-66-mld-me-pak
8- Revista Monitor, 15.04.2015, http://www.monitor.al/eksodi-i-kapitalit-debate-per-transferimin-e-bizneseve-vendase-jashte-shtetit/
9- Kontrolli i Lartë i Shtetit, http://www.klsh.org.al/web/pub/per_publikim_akt_1820_1.pdf