Economic slowdown and public debt increase expected due to COVID-19

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times March 21, 2020 14:54

Economic slowdown and public debt increase expected due to COVID-19

TIRANA, March 21 - The coronavirus pandemic is expected to have a negative impact on economic growth and public debt. During an interview with Euronews, the Minister for Reconstruction and the COVID-19 task-force, Arben Ahmetaj, said that there would be a widespread economic slowdown and public debt is expected to rise. In this line, the real economic growth rate is expected to drop by 2 percent.

 "The main reason why the deficit will increase to almost four percent is due to the sharp decline in revenues by 70 million dollars during this month, which could reach 120 million dollars during the next month,” Ahmetaj said.

Moreover, Minister Arben Ahmetaj explained that there will be no postponement for the payment of liabilities and insurance. According to him, if tax liabilities are not paid, the country will go into chaos within a week. Freelancers who were affected by the COVID-19 measures will also be paid a minimum wage.

“Freelancers will be included within the 65 million dollar portfolio which helps this disadvantaged category or other enterprises which have been shut down. We will not do miracles, as the help will be basic. If you had a salary of 1 million lek you will not be compensated for this [amount], but the compensation will be at the minimum wage level,”said Ahmetaj. Nevertheless, public investments will continue as planned.

This is part of the seven-point financial plan to assist those affected by the COVID-19 measures, which Prime Minister Edi Rama presented on Thursday. The 300 million euro plan includes a sovereign guarantee for big businesses worth 80 million euros and 53 millions to assist small businesses, the needy and the unemployed. The strict measures which the government have implemented so far, have shut down many businesses in Albania and have sent home a considerable number of employees who were supposed to receive their salaries by the end of the month.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times March 21, 2020 14:54