Gov’t announces new financial assistance plan underway

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times March 17, 2020 21:34

Gov’t announces new financial assistance plan underway

TIRANA, March 17 - Prime Minister Rama recently announced that a financial assistance package is underway for all citizens facing financial difficulties due to the spread of COVID-19. He urged for everyone to remain calm and be patient, as the plan will be ready by Thursday. According to Rama, all salaries of those who were forced to leave work due to the lockdown will be paid by the government.

“The end of the month will not come without payment for everyone who is at home as a consequence of the business where they work closing,” he said.

During this time, all ministries have been asked to submit their proposals on the situation. So far, one of the measures proposed by the Ministry of Industry and Energy involves the suspension of late payment charges for electricity bills during the entire quarantine period. Later on Tuesday, Rama signed an Order with the Bank of Albania to suspend the repayment of loans until May 31, based on which citizens have to declare their reasons for requesting the postponement of their loan repayments.

Restrictions on the movement of people which were enforced last Monday have led to the closure of many business activities, and many employees may not receive their salaries for this month. 

The Opposition’s plan:

Democratic Party leader Lulzim Basha proposed his own plan on Sunday, which included six key points on which fiscal policy should be based on. Basha also called for measures to protect medical staff on the front lines and added that the government should anticipate the financial crisis brought by the coronavirus. The main points of the plan are as follows:

  • Suspend payments of social and health insurance contributions for a period of three months 
  • In cases that a business presents financial difficulties, the salaries of the employees should be paid through the state budget for a period of two months, based on specific criteria.
  • Income tax exemption for the first half of the year and suspension for the remainder of the year (to be paid in 4 installments during 2021).
  • Suspension and cancellation of electricity and water bills for all consumers (households below minimum living standards and small and medium-sized businesses) in areas (municipalities) where the Covid-19 virus has spread.
  • Exemption from late payment fees and fines for a period of three months.
  • Exemption from property tax and all local taxes and fees for a three-month period in areas (municipalities) where the Covid-19 virus has spread.

However, PM Rama rejected the plan, claiming that it would be detrimental to the Albanian economy.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times March 17, 2020 21:34