Economy in Brief

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times June 17, 2019 11:30

Economy in Brief

Average salary increases 4.9 percent

During the first quarter of 2019 the average gross salary for an employee is  51.531 lek (422 euros), experiencing an increase of 4.9 percent compared to the same period last year. The average gross salary for an employee in the financial and insurance activities sector is 97.4 percent higher than the national average. The second highest salary is in the telecommunication field with an average pay of 76 thousand lek (622 euros). In the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sector, it is 26.3 percent lower. Art, entertainment and recreation along with other service activities have the highest growth of 16.3 percent, while construction is the only activity that has a decrease of 2.8 percent.


Foods and produce among the highest imported products

Fuels and cigarettes were the most imported goods in the first quarter of 2019, but foods along with fruits and vegetables were also among the top 20 most imported items in the country, ranking eighth. Although domestic production greatly supplied markets, a significant part of the consumption needs were covered by imports. From customs collected 641 million lek (5.2 million euros) on these products during January-March, accounting for 1.8 percent of total customs revenues. Prepared food brought 864 million lek (7 million euros). Customs collected 7.3 billion lek (59.7 million euros) from fuel imports and 4.6 billion lek (37.6 million euros) from cigarette imports. Revenues from oil accounted for 20.7 percent of total customs revenue, while cigarettes for 13.1 percent.


High air pollution in Balkans

A recent report from the United Nations Organization said that Western Balkans capitals and its citizens are facing air pollution levels up to five times higher than the national and EU levels, that is reducing their life expectancy by 1.1 to 1.3 years on average. This air pollution is causing 15 to 19 percent of deaths in these countries. Fifteen coal-fired power plants, some of which are outdated, pump into the air significant amounts of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and dust or particulate matter in five Western Balkan countries. Also, up to 88 percent of the resident buildings use decentralized heat systems that use inefficient energy. The report identified the region’s lack of access to modern renewable energy sources as a cause of air pollution.


Pensioners are looking for jobs

The growth of the population over the age of 64, the low pension payments and the improvement of life expectancy are increasingly pushing pensioners to participate in the labor market. Many retired persons do not retrieve a pension because they have not paid social security during the transition period and in some cases they can not prove the years of work in the monism because the documentation is damaged. Some of them are forced to work or look for work to cope with their livelihoods. According to INSTAT, the work force of citizens over 64 years of age was 58302 persons, of which 57892 are currently employed and 410 are looking for work.


Half of Albanians save for education

In a Bank of Albania survey on financial objectives citizens have regarding their savings and what that objective is, only 44.2 percent of respondents said they had a financial objective. Of this, 49 percent said they were saving for education (29.8 percent for schooling of children and 18.6 percent for self-education). 11.9 percent said they were saving for a better living standard, while 9.9 percent said they wanted to buy a car. Housing adjustment stimulates 5.7 percent of the savers and so is the purchase of a new home. When asked what actions they took to meet their financial objectives, 22 percent have responded that they have reduced spending, 13 percent have saved or invested, and 7 percent have prepared an action plan.


More boys are born but women make up population

According to INSTAT Albania’s population on Jan. 1, 2019, is 2,862,427 persons with a decrease of 0.28 percent from 2018. The number of women in Albania continued to grow with a rate of 0.08 percent, while the population of men has dropped by 0.6 percent. The number of births in 2018 was about 28.9 thousand, with a sex ratio of 1.08, meaning that for every 100 born girls, 108 boys are born. This ratio is higher than the natural ratio, which is 105. But in 2018 women accounted for 50.1 percent of the total population, as the net migration of men marked a significant decline by 12,375 men leaving, while only 2,655 women left.


Record spending for traveling

Bank of Albania data published in the balance of payments, show that in the first three months of the year 272 million euros were taken abroad as expenses that Albanian travelers made for tickets, hotels, cafes, foodstuffs etc.. This is the highest level ever reported and in relation to the first quarter of the previous year it has increased by 7 percent. Other INSTAT data show that 1.3 million Albanian citizens went abroad in the first three months of the year, an increase of 12.4 percent over the same period of the previous year. INSTAT data showed that in the first three months of the year 695 thousand foreigners came in, with a 2.7 percent increase compared to the first quarter of 2018. The growth rate of foreign inflows has slowed down considerably compared with the previous year, but Bank of Albania data show that foreigners’ expenses in our country amounted to 348 million euros for the period January to March this year.


Western Balkans tourism development project launches

The Regional Cooperation Council (RCC), in the framework of its EU-funded project for Tourism Development and Promotion, launched the second call for projects that develop the tourism offer in the Western Balkans. According to the information, the grant scheme is 1.62 million euros, but this second tranche makes available 750 thousand euros for the implementation of about 14 pilot projects worth up to 54 thousand. The purpose of the RCC Grant Scheme is to globally promote and promote the common regional cultural and adventure offer, bring more visitors to the Western Balkans, extend their position and increase their income and employment in the tourism industry.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times June 17, 2019 11:30