From: Exit Explains
Exit Explains: Albania’s Three Waste Incinerators

The Albanian government has been paying three concession holders €72 million since 2015 for the construction and operation of three incinerators, two of which have not yet been built, while the other is operating at half capacity. The plan was that the incinerators would burn waste for energy, creating a revenue stream while dealing with the issue of waste disposal in the country.

All three incinerators were given to the same group of people, creating virtually a monopoly.

On Wednesday, on his “Me pak fjalë” (In a few words) show on Euronews Albania, Neritan Sejamini focused on the dubious monopoly of waste incineration.

The Albanian incinerators were created from no demand, no requirement, and no official proposal. It all started with a request from a newly set up company, with no capital or experience.

Only four months and three weeks after the company’s creation, the government awarded it a  €22-million-worth concession contract for the Elbasan incinerator. Through the same scheme, within two years it awarded concession contracts for the Fier and Tirana incinerators to the same persons, thus creating a monopoly in practice. The company in questions, still did not have any experience in incinerators, waste management, or anything else.

The dubious procedure was further exacerbated by the terms of the contracts, which appeared to favour the companies, to the detriment of the state.

  • The government had to start paying the concessionaire before the construction is completed;
  • The government has to compensate the concession holders at any time when they do not have any waste to burn.

As a result of these terms, the concessionaires have delayed construction while regularly receiving the government payments.

The Elbasan incinerator is the only one completed and operating only from time to time because they do not have enough waste to burn. Construction of incinerators of Fier and Tirana should have been completed in 2018 but that hasn’t happened yet. Yet, the concessisonaire still receives money from the government for not burning waste, in incinerators that are not even constructed.

How much money did these incinerators cost the citizens?

Treasury data published by Open Data Albania shows that from 2015 to June 2020 the Elbasan incinerator has received about €25 million.

The concession contract awarded for this incinerator was €22 million but the government has paid the company €3 million more so far. The total cost will increase by several more million in the next two years.

From 2015 to June 2020, the Fier incinerator has received about €22 million. The total cost of the project is €27 million. This means that the company has received 82 percent of the contract cost before even building the incinerator. The government will certainly pay millions more by the end of the concession contract, far exceeding its initial cost.

From 2015 to June 2020, the Tirana incinerator has received about €25 million from the state budget. This means that in the first two years of the 30-year concession contract, and before having built the incinerator, the concessionaire has received over 20 percent of its total cost.

The three concession contracts for the construction of incinerators have cost Albanian taxpayers €72 million until June 2020, while they have all failed to provide the expected services.

If the situaiton continues in this way, it will only get worse for taxpayers. Not only are the incinerators breaching their contracts but they are not creating revenue, energy, or disposing of waste, despite their capacity to do so. For now, all they are consuming is money.