From: Exit Staff
Minister Claims the Government Spent Double on COVID-19 Financial Assistance, Compared to Official Figures

Albanian Minister of Reconstruction and Coronavirus Arben Ahemtaj has claimed the Albanian government has spent EUR 251 million on direct aid to Albanian citizens.

The claim was made in an article he authored which was published on Balkanweb. In it he said that the Albanian government took a “series of rapid budget and fiscal policies to mitigate the consequences of the crisis” both economically and socially. Through three packages, he said, salaries were given to 65,000 citizens and 172,000 more received a bonus.

In total, Ahmetaj said, EUR 251 million was directly transferred into the bank accounts of Albanian citizens.

The data on the official website of the Ministry of Finance however, is significantly less. According to these figures, only EUR 110 million has been spent in two aid packages. Exit checked the page and saw that it was last updated this morning.

The first package

About 65,000 people, entrepreneurs or employees of small businesses, who lost their jobs due to closure by order of the government, have received each of three payments of 24,000 ALL (about EUR 200) in March, April and May. The total paid by the government for them is about EUR 39 million.

The second package

Another 166,000 citizens fired or left without a job, mainly former employees of large businesses, have received a single payment of 40 thousand ALL (approximately EUR 320) as assistance for the entire closure period (March – April – May – June). In total, about EUR53 million was paid by the government for this category.

A further EUR 15 million was spent on additional unemployment benefits and economic assistance, as well as help for families in need.

This brings the total to EUR 110 million, some 141 million less than Ahmetaj claims.