Economy in Brief

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times March 29, 2019 10:17

Economy in Brief

Low budget spending on social protection

Comparing to EU countries the Albanian government collects and spends less public funds in ratio to its GDP. The highest difference is noticed in spendings for social protection (pensions, economic aid, and persons with disabilities), on which Albania spends 9.3 percent of its GDP, whereas the EU mean is 18.8 percent. Albania also has the lowest spendings on education with 3.1 percent and healthcare with 3.9 percent of its GDP. Spendings on public security had 1.7 percent of the GDP, which was the only category similar to EU countries.

 

Government approves Kukes Airport concession

On March 20, 2019 the government approved the concession for the construction of the Kukes Airport, with tender winners Global Technical Mechanics LLC and Bami LLC. The duration of the concession is 35 years, the construction will take place within 24 months, and it costs 8 million euros. While the project is implemented it is expected to hire 220 persons, and upon its opening 1200 people. Through this airport it is intended a regional reference point for low cost movements especially for Kosovo, Montenegro and Macedonia, and so far five companies, Wizz Air, easyJet, Ryanair, Vueling, and Pegasus Airlines, have expressed their interest in this Airport.

 

Albania with low percent of English proficiency

Aside of linguistic hegemony, English is a good sign for a country’s development and has a connection to high quality of life and average income. It is also a basic skill for all the global workforce as English is still the most widely learned second language for conducting international businesses and for tourism purposes. According to the English Proficiency Index only 17 percent of Albanians are capable in communicating in English, making them “ignorant” regarding the language. This is concerning as a good fraction of the economy relies on tourism. However, the same percentage is accounted to the rest of the regional countries, too.

 

Innovations from the news investment funds law

A new bill for investment funds is under revisal and expects to update the old law by providing more detailed information about definitions regarding various investment funds units. The new law will provide the definitions of the alternative investment funds, the separation of local and foreign alternative investment funds; there will be the definition of stock market investment funds entering the bill for the first time; there will be a detailed definition of the collective investment venture; the registration of these funds; the licensing of management companies, and how the replacement of the management company will work.

 

Direct foreign investments reach record in 2018

According to the Bank of Albania the direct foreign investments in Albania for 2018 amounted to around 1 billion euros, increasing by 13.7 percent compared to 2017. The biggest weight was in the sector of energy with the projects of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) and the Devoll hydropower plant. The energy sector accounted to 60 percent of the investments, or 590 million euros. However, TAP finishes its works in 2020, whereas Devoll has already finished. Devoll’s contracting company Statkraft is building however a 300 million euros hydropower plant in Moglica. Thus, the issue remains on which will be replacing these two major investments in Albania.

 

USD overruns Euro in the exchange market

As Euro is trying to regain its strength slowly, the US dollar has been increasing at high speeds, having an average exchange rate at 110 lek per 1 dollar, until it reached 111.4 lek as of March 28. This is the highest value since January 2018 when the dollar exchanged with 111.89 lek. Experts claim that the reasons of this strengthening of the US dollar is first of all linked to the strengthening of the euro in international stock markets. The other reason is due to strengthening of the euro in the internal market during March 2019, which increased its demand.

 

Albania with cheapest internet on the region

As mobile phones are turning into a necessity for a person’s life, the competitiveness for cheapest prices from telecommunications providers has increased. According to British broadband company Cable which has conducted price comparison analysis for mobile network in the world, for the region of Balkans Albania provides the cheapest prices. Mobile internet in Albania costs 3.22 dollars per gigabyte, followed by Bosnia-Herzegovina with 3.58 dollars, and Macedonia with 3.62. The prices vary per country and Albania remains of the cheapest in the world compared to other countries. India has the cheapest price in the world with 21 cents per gigabyte.

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times March 29, 2019 10:17