Economy in Brief

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times June 27, 2019 19:09

Economy in Brief

150 enterprises conduct most trade

According to Albanian Institute of Statistics (INSTAT) data, exports reached 10 billion lek (81 million euros) in 2018, increasing by 13.7 percent compared to the previous year, while imports reached 641 billion lek (5.2 billion euros), increasing by 2.4 percent. 58 percent of the exports were carried out by the top 50 largest enterprises, while 56 percent of the imports were carried out by the top 100 largest enterprises. 83 percent of exports were carried out by industrial enterprises, whereas the imports were dominated at 56 percent by enterprises operating in trade and commerce.  


Economic damage from public units reaches 35 million euros

In controls to units operating with public funds, the Finance Ministry’s Directorate of Internal Control found financial damages amounting to 35 million euros for 2018. The procurement system had the greatest monetary value of the violations found. Internal auditors have identified 20 cases for further investigation by specialized units. Eight of these cases were referred to Financial Inspection Department for   further investigation, eight cases of prosecutions to respective districts, while the other cases were addressed to the Procurement Agency and the Tax Investigation Directorate. From the audits it is seen that there is a lack of written procedures related to the process of identification of risks that are related to corruption or fraud, which causes management not to be engaged in their handling, and consequently, internal controls in different work processes are not risk-based.


OSHEE recovery plan to extend another year

The World Bank has recently carried out a revision of the energy sector recovery project adopted in 2015 and backed by a 150 million dollars loan, which is being implemented by the Electricity Power Distribution System Operator (OSHEE). The reference to the document has not changed any assessment in relation to the previous revision where the performance is considered to be moderately satisfactory while overall implementation is considered to be moderately unsatisfactory, and the overall risk remains high. According to the World Bank, the project which was expected to close in November 2019 will last for another year. The project contributed to the reduction of energy losses in distribution in Albania and the increase of the security of the medium voltage network in the Tirana area measured by the percentage of substation capacity utilization.


20 million dollars disbursed for road maintenance  

The World Bank has recently published another report on road maintenance based on performance, evaluating an improved implementation on civil workings, however it noticed that companies were procrastinating of 18 months in starting the execution of contracts. Referring to the figures up to now only 26 percent of the total funded maintenance fund is being disbursed, a five-year project co-funded by the Albanian government and the World Bank. This means that so far only 20.5 million dollars have been disbursed while remaining over 57 million dollars more. In total, the maintenance of 1334 kilometers of roads throughout the country is included through four contracts related to the operators who have won the race during the procedure developed by the Albanian Road Authority.


Insurance reimbursement policies change

The Financial Supervisory Authority has amended the regulation “On compulsory insurance in the transport sector,” specifying among other things some elements starting from the time that compensation has to be made, the customer notification procedure and the determination of the loss of permanent ability at work degree. Concretely, the compensation will be accepted based on the date of complaint deposit which must be fully completed. Compensation will be made within 14 days after the demand has been made and notify the damaged party on the compensation amount. If the demand is refused, then the insurance company must issue a written letter on the legal reasons.  


Municipalities collect more revenue from infrastructure tax

Albania’s municipalities increased infrastructure impact tax revenues by 58 percent in the first quarter of 2019 as compared to the same period of the previous year, as a result of the higher intensity of construction permits given for this period. Revenues from this tax amounted to about 2.4 billion lek (19.6 million euros), about 1.4 billion lek (11.4 million euros) more than last year. These revenues from new construction and legalization revenues represented about 68.9 percent of the total of local tax revenues (an increase of about 23.2 percentage points) and about 44.7 percent of total revenues from local taxes. Revenue performance from this tax suggests a continuation of development pressures, though this pressure is mainly concentrated in the municipality of Tirana. In the Municipality of Tirana the infrastructure impact tax is 8 percent, while in the other municipalities 4 percent.


More men use smartphones

The percentage of men using mobile phones and the Internet is higher than that of women in Albania. According to the latest data published by the Albanian Institute of Statistics (INSTAT) for 2018, among the age group of 15-59 year olds, 75.2 percent of men dominate the use of the Internet, compared to 65.1 percent of women. As far as mobile phone usage is concerned, it is estimated 94.1 percent of men use mobiles, compared to 89.2 percent of women. The permeation of smartphones in Albanian families is even faster. In 2016 only 40 percent of them claimed to have a smartphone, and two years later the number of respondents has increased to 64 percent.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times June 27, 2019 19:09