Government Awards Pension Bonuses before Upcoming Elections

Yesterday, in a meeting with the press, Minister of Economy and Finance Arben Ahmetaj, rejected the claim that the government gives higher end-of-year bonuses to retirees, whenever there is an upcoming election:

The way in which our solidarity packet is delivered has nothing to do with election years. Look at the times we award bonuses, whereas they [the Berisha government] only gave out bonuses on election years. The solidarity packet has become a standard procedure and that is why we have included it in the budget as a set amount, in order to ensure retirees that the government’s total attention is on citizens.

The Minister’s declarations follows the Rama government’s approval of end-of-year bonuses for retirees. According to the Decision of the Council of Ministers (VKM), for December, 5000 lekë will be added to every pension.

A review of annual budgets reveals that, contrary to Ahmetaj’s claims, the Rama government doubled the retiree bonuses fund whenever an election year was upcoming.

So, before the 2017 elections, in December 2016, the government added 6000 lekë to pensions, from a 3.7 billion lekë fund.

Whereas, in December 2017, with no upcoming election in sight, retirees received about 2500 lekë, from a 1.8 billion lekë fund.

Meanwhile, before the 2019 elections, in December 2018, the government will award a 5000 lekë bonus, from a 2.8 billion lekë fund. As the data reveals, the government increases the year-end bonuses fund by two, whenever an election is coming up.