Mayor of Tirana Erion Veliaj has threatened to revoke the license of public transport operators and give it to competitors if they do not resume work by the end of the week.
The companies have refused to resume work since 15 June, seeking financial assistance from the state. The implementation of security and hygiene protocols as set by the state would lead many to bankruptcy they claim.
They have asked for:
- State subsidies for empty seats due to the pandemic and security protocols;
- Removal of excise duties on oil and tax, similar to what has happened in the fishing sector;
- Reduction of VAT from 2% to 0% for this year with it rising to 6% the following year.
“This is the last warning, if the operators don’t go back to work by the end of this week, they will lose the license and there will be another operator who takes it…this is the first and last warning and if we do not have a response this week, licenses will be lost.”
He claimed that the Municipality has met the requirements of the companies. He then said if anyone doubts his word, they should remember what happened in Astir and with the National Theatre.
In Astir, tens of homes were demolished to make way for a new road project. Residents did not receive compensation as many were going through the property legalisation process. The government stopped this process so they could proceed with the demolitions.
The National Theatre was demolished at 4:30 am on the last day of lockdown- 17 May. Armed police stormed the complex and demolition started while activists were still being removed from the building. Their belongings remained inside. The demolition is widely considered to be illegal as the matter was subject to a Constitutional Court decision, as well as other investigations.