1- Economy: what experts say and what the Ministry claims
It will probably be difficult to have a common and accepted approach regarding the economic situation in the country.
We can only compare what specialized institutions report and economic eXpertize, independent surveys from credible institutions, with political declarations of the Ministry and its allies.
The Minister and an important diplomat in the country, have declared that economic growth and business climate continue to improve in a stable and continuous manner. Even INSTAT has reported a growth in exports, but also imports.
It all seems alright so far. For insance, it is being said that economic growth is at 1.9% and 2014 was one of the most difficult years for the economy to correct what was left behind and another year will be needed to fix 8 years of the former government.
The dose of optimism is increased further when one one of the most improtant partners for Albania declared that ‘’…business climate this year is better compared to last year and the year before that…and this is great news’’. According to this optimism, the increase in the business index is an indication of this and the Albanian government and Minister Ahmetaj are to be congratulated for supporting businesses.
However, the same analysis is not shared by the German Association for Industry and Trade (DIHA).
According to DIHA, in a survey conducted only 23% of businesses declare their situation has improved, while in 2014 this figure was up to 36%. For 48% of respondents the situation has remained the same while 29% see a deterioration of the situation.
Who should we believe: Germans, Americans or Albanians? Luckily the choice is free.
According to the Bank of Albania the indicator of economic sensitivity dropped by 4.6 points for the first quarter of 2015, halting thus the growth trend, registered since the fourth quarter of 2013. The indicator remained above the historical average during the three preceding quarters, but currently it is 0.5% below longterm average.
The indicator includes important sectors of the economy such as industry, trade, services and consumer’s trust, which saw a decrease, with construction leading by 5.2 percentage points, followed by trade with 4 percentage points.
To conclude concretely with trade, as was mentioned above export and import indicators have increased during March 2015, compared to the same month a year ago and compared to the preceding month this year. However, the trade deficit has also increased this month, which results in 22 billion Leke, increasing by 3.7% compared to March 2014 and 7.2% compared to February 2015.
Let’s not forget that economic growth of 1.89% is still lower than 2.1% foreseen by the government and IMF.
What to say, the truth lies in the middle or stands with the experts and not politicians?
2- Tourism uses NATO equipment for strolling
On August 28-31 an association of foreign tourism agencies has arrived in Albania, which according to the National Tourism Agency (AKT) is elite.
However, according to the High State Audit (KLSH) as reported in the media, cited by APPA as well, the travel of 30 foreigners in our country was financed by AKT, violating the law that does not foresee such expenses.
We are talking about thousands of euros from Albanian tax payers.
The story does not end here. The current government rightfilly so, criticized harshly the former government, for using helicopters of the Albanian Armed Forces, equipment that should be used for military purposes in peacekeeping and humanitarian missions in the framework of NATO costing millions of euros, were used as decor to an RnB song in local TV stations.
But the government’s tourism goes beyond that, by using equipment of the Albanian Coastal Guard to conduct touristic travels for foreign citizens.
There is no provision in the law that allows such a thing. To the contrary, the role of the Albanian Military and Armed Forces is completely different. It is connected to military purposes, national defense and civil assistance, not entertaining foreign or Albanian citizens.
With this violation, the responsibility lies not only with tourism, which is not new to these adventures, but the military elite is also to blame for allowing such a breach to happen.