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IMF: Thorough structural reforms well underway in Albania

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TIRANA, February 13/ATA/ – International Monetary Fund (IMF) Deputy Managing Director, Tao Zhang stated on Tuesday that Albanian economy has gained momentum, while on official visit in Tirana.

Zhang emphasised that Albanian government joint programme is assessed as successful by the IMF.

“I would like to convey the appraisal of IMF’s senior officials on the programme with Albania. We are pleased the programme was completed successfully and I take advantage of this occasion to compliment the Albanian government on meeting key objectives of this programme. This is a gained momentum to Albanian economy compared to three years ago,” IMF executive Zhang said during the meeting held with Minister of Finance and Economy, Arben Ahmetaj.

IMF’s senior official stated the Fund’s willingness to further support Albanian government throughout technical assistance as well as on minimising potential risks. “We support our member countries to understanding their real capacities and balanced growth in compliance to these capacities,” IMF’s deputy Managing Director said.

Minister Ahmetaj praised the cooperation with the International Monetary Fund in the framework of the three year programme with the Albanian government while underlined that 2017 fiscal performance was very good, a total deficit of -2% of the GDP and an upgraded primary balance for the third consecutive year.

“Albania has undertaken a range of deep structural reforms. The electric power reform enabled network loss reduction. Pensions’ reform made the scheme stable while it will mark huge improvements in the future decade. Administrative-territorial reform was a pivotal step and the Law on Local Finances has initiated to function in disciplining and increasing financial transparency of local governance bodies,” Ahmetaj said.

In addition, minister Ahmetaj said that local finance management reform was deep and successful which brought about a better control on revenues and expenses.

Regarding the economic aspect, Ahmetaj stressed that economic growth is quadrupled compared to 2013 while 2017 first ninth months amounted to 3.9%. According to him the workforce in increased and employment decreased in line to government projection to reach a one figure level until the end of the second mandate.

Minister Ahmetaj underlined that Albanian government remains committed towards fiscal consolidation, reduction of public debt and advancing structural economic reforms.

Another shared topic of discussion was related to Public Private Partnership (PPP) which aims at improving infrastructure and interconnections by engaging private capital.

In his part Zhang emphasised the importance of implementing capacities to PPP while stated that IMF is willing to work with the Albanian government to support private sector commitment and the control of potential risks.

This is the first visit of an IMF’s senior official representative in Tirana in the last 10 years.

/a.gjonaj/ /a.g//m.b/

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