Former Minister of Finance Arben Ahmetaj has been nominated Minister of State for Reconstruction.
President Ilir Meta approved Ahmetaj’s nomination today, shortly after Prime Minister Edi Rama’s proposal reached his office.
Rama wrote on Twitter that the new post was required by government’s “Reconstruction Program”, although no such program has been made public so far.
He added that Ahmetaj will be “exclusively in charge of coordinating all local and international institutions related to the program, follow every hour and every minute the implementation of the Program.”
Arben Ahmetaj was Minister of Finance for five years. During this time, the government signed dozens of controversial and highly criticized public-private partnership (PPP) contracts. In its role as MP after he was dismissed, Ahmetaj proposed a last minute amendment to a law which extended the period for government to accept unsolicited proposals for PPPs. President Meta vetoed the said law approved by parliament.
The Albanian opposition has denounced several PPP contracts as corrupt. Three of such recently attacked contracts amount to a total cost of about €660 million – Milot-Ballre highway, Dukat-Orikum road, and Thumane-Kashar highway.
The World Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, International Monetary Fund, European Union have all criticized the government use of unsolicited proposals and PPPs.
Rama reshuffled the government one year ago in an attempt to quench the student protests. He sacked Ahmetaj from the Ministry of Finance, together with six more ministers, after praising their work.