From: Martin Gjonaj
Albania Is in Ashes, While Funds Are Used for Cosmetics

The forests are in ashes from the fires while the fields are nothing but dust from the absence of irrigation – we are now used to the fixed hours of the (un)drinkable water, which is not a seasonal issue but something of the last 12 months.

But why? Why is the situation so dramatic, when this country is blessed with natural resources and one of the countries in Europe with the most water sources?

It’s simple. Because the state budget, whatever is left from the money of our taxes, after being stolen through tenders and all kinds of abuse, is being abused.

Is there any doubt of where they ended up?

On squares, tones, concrete, facades, paint, and palm trees:

  • The entire “urban regeneration” project cost €600 million, and the new squares and facades only serve pensioners playing domino and unemployed youth wasting their time.
  • Only the cost of the palm trees planted along the Tirana–Durrës highway cost €2.4 million. And how much did all these other palm trees cost on all the squares of Albania, now dried out and standing around like sad trunks?

Meanwhile, our Ministry of Disagriculture recently seems to have calculated that the entire cost of the renovation and modernization of the irrigation system to allow the irrigation of a potential surface of 360.000 ha of arable land is around €215 million.

That little is needed to be invested in agriculture, irrigation canals, reservoirs, pumps (and even the meters, so that we can pay for it). That’s it!

But there is no more money. It has been spent on the idiotic cosmetics put public spaces, on lifeless squares, on facades, faking a reality that doesn’t exist, on nonsensical decoration with palm trees along the national highways and seaside boulevards. These valueless investments have not only put an enormous burden on the budget, but have brought catastrophic consequences for agriculture and the further development of this economically important sector.

In September and October, we will no doubt see another emigration wave toward Europe, of those few inhabitants left in rural areas. This is a great curse for a country with the largest amount of water sources in the Balkans, but the mismanagement and extreme abuse of the government is slowly drying up this country and getting rid of its most vital workforce.