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Opinion / Editorial

The big lie of the Government Program (2021) for Public Debt (or the repetition of the lie of the government programs 2013 and 2017)

The big lie of the Government Program (2021) for Public Debt (or the repetition

In the Governing Program 2013-2017 and 2017-2021 the Government of the Rama sect committed and promised the gradual reduction of public debt to about 60% of GDP by the end of the mandate. (point 2.1 microeconomic stability, page 9 of the 2017-2020 program). This is also evidenced by the commitment to reduce public debt in the public financial management strategy, where for the period 2014-2020 a level below 60% by the end of 2019 is projected and the target level for 2020 at 56.7% of GDP .
We bring to your attention that in 2013, eight years ago, public debt was 65.6% of GDP.
While public debt at the end of 2017, the end of the first term, was reported by the Ministry of Finance in the amount of 70% of GDP and at the end of 2020 in the amount of 77.9% of GDP.
Today, in the next mandate, in the Government Program 3, on page 16 it is literally quoted "The target of this mandate - accelerated fiscal consolidation aiming at debt below 60% at the end of the mandate".
How much trust should Albanian citizens have in a Government that has not fulfilled its commitment in 8 years and promises the same for the next 4 years?
Beyond the fact that the commitment of the 2013 and 2017 programs has not been realized, the public debt has been subject to continuous growth in nominal value and has become a heavy burden for economic growth, as its growth over the years has not been reflected in economic growth.
What makes this situation even more worrying is the fact that the value reported in these indicators does not include arrears (hidden public debt), which by the end of 2020 according to MFE reporting is estimated at about ALL 14 billion , not including the stock of refundable VAT. These data are reported based on the self-declaration of budgetary institutions, carrying the risk of non-declaration and accurate reporting of liabilities.
Another inaccuracy in public debt indicators is related to the undervaluation due to non-reporting of liabilities arising from concession contracts, where the state carries the main risks and does not recognize as an obligation the commitment undertaken to pay. If the obligations of about 80 concession contracts of PPP form concluded in the years 2014-2020 are included, the public debt increases by 11.6% reaching 89.5% of our national production.
If we add another 446 million euros, liabilities from international courts (final decision loss in the case "Hydro and others against Albania" (Becchetti case) 109 million euros; expected losses of the case "Durrës Kurum Shipping sh.pk and others vs Albania-100 million euros, Arka Energy BV vs Albania 110 million euros, Costruzioni DONDI & KUBOTA CO. vs. Albania 90 million euros and JV Copri Construction Enterprises and others vs Albania 37 million euros), public debt of Albania increased during the period 2014-2021 increases by 23.4%, capturing the alarming value of 112.9% of GDP
All these risks, in the context of not realizing the commitment to take in the first and second governing program, are a hidden debt, which increase the value of public debt above the current level accepted and reported by the Ministry of Finance.
How can a Government commit to promise debt reduction to 60% when with complete irresponsibility not only did it not fulfill its commitment to reduce it from 65.6% to 60% of GDP over 8 years but increased it to the reported level 77.9% in 2020 and increased the risks for a significant level of public debt up to 112.9%, with a very worrying effect on our economy.
This situation becomes even more meaningful from the consideration of the performance of public investments where only by analyzing the normative act no. 28/2020 shows that the increase of debt is projected at ALL 64 billion, while the increase of investments with domestic financing is projected at ALL 12.9 billion, for road transport projects and water supply and sewerage. This shows that the new debt planned to be received was not intended to make investments and generate income.
In these conditions, the commitment to reduce public debt to 60% of GDP is not just an impossibility but an irresponsibility and a great deception that is being done to Albanian citizens for the third time by Rama and his sect.

By Bujar Leskaj