Mayor Veliaj Claims the Pazar i Ri for Himself

Yesterday, Mayor of Tirana Erion Veliaj spoke on Opinion about the Pazar i Ri project, which had been finished a week ago. Veliaj claimed that the new Pazar i Ri was a promise of his municipality:

It is the first thing I did, because I made a promise during the campaign and have a sentimental connection to the Pazar i Ri since my childhood and have also sold things in that market. We responded to this demand, not only to match the funding, but to match it several time over. Today, the Albanian-American Development Foundation (AADF) has given more than $1 million, the Municipality of Tirana has given more than $2 million, and the Albanian government another $2 million. We are at the level of $5 million, and certainly the largest part is the financing for the entire ecosystem there.

The numbers mentioned by Veliaj contradict the number published by the AADF, the initiator and main funder of the project. According to Veliaj, the municipality and government have given more than $4 million, while the AADF would have contributed only “more than $1 million.”

In press release published a few days ago, the AADF a different picture of the investments made into the Pazar i Ri, which contradict Veliaj’s self-aggrandizing claims:

In this ambitious project, about which many were skeptical, the AADF has committed $3 million and the Municipality of Tirana in collaboration with the government contributed around $2.5 million for reconstruction work. Meanwhile the private investments made by businesses in the area amount to more than $4 million.

According to the AADF, the project started five years ago, before Veliaj became mayor of Tirana.