Finance minister dismissed in first gov’t reshuffle within Socialist Party

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times February 16, 2016 11:36

TIRANA, Feb. 16 – Shkelqim Cani has been dismissed as finance minister and replaced by Economy Minister Arben Ahmetaj in the first government reshuffle within the Socialist Party which leads the ruling left coalition that came to power following the June 2013 general elections, the government announced in a statement.

Although no official reasons are given on Cani’s dismissal, the poor performance of the country’s public finances is believed to be the key reason behind the sacking. Albania’s public finances struggled in 2015 with the budget revised downward three times to handle lower income from international oil prices, spillover effects from the escalating crisis in neighboring Greece and poor domestic consumption. A costly customs assistance contract with UK-based Crown Agents consultant and an aggressive nationwide campaign to curb widespread informality launched in late 2015 did not help improve the situation with public finances.

Milva Ekonomi, a renowned economist who has held the post of the deputy health minister, will replace Arben Ahmetaj as minister of economic development, tourism, trade and entrepreneurship.

The latest reshuffle follows an earlier replacement by the Socialist Movement for Integration (SMI), the Socialist Party’s key ally, who last November appointed Ylli Manjani as new justice minister. Manjani replaced Nasip Naço who had also been nominated by the SMI.

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times February 16, 2016 11:36