During the presentation of the draft budget for 2019, Minister of Economy and Finance Arben Ahmetaj announced that the Tirana–Durrës highway, one of the main transportation arteries of the country, will be given in concession to a private partner, who will turn it into a toll road.
The project officially presented at the Ministry of Infrastructure and distributed among the authorities that take part in evaluating the project, including the Ministry of Finance, is a proposal, which potentially requires zero money from the state budget. If all conditions are fulfilled, it will be a public–private partnership, which will be financed completely by investors and in the long term the investment will be earned back through a toll.
The government has frequently claimed that public–private partnerships (PPPs) cost “zero” public money, in spite of repeated warnings by the IMF and World Bank that PPPs ought to be factored in a public debt.
The PPP project for the Tirana–Durrës highway follows on the heels of another recent concession, of the Rruga e Kombit to Kosovo, of which the public costs recently increased with €50 million.