In its first meeting of the new parliamentary session, the Economic Affairs Committee refused to consider suggestions made by President Meta regarding four laws he had earlier returned to Parliament.
The committee passed the following draft-laws for a second vote in parliament, disregarding all suggestions and concerns of the president:
- Law on the Privatization and Leasing of Enterprises and Certain Facilitates to Commercial Companies and State Institutions;
- Law on Concessions and Public Private Partnerships (PPP);
- Law on the Dukat–Orikum road concession contract;
- Law on the Milot – Balldren concession contract.
The first two laws were legal changes, which the President claimed were adopted without consultations with the opposition, and in violation of the true purpose for drafting these laws.
When he returned to Parliament the law on limiting unsolicited proposals for concession contracts and public–private partnerships (PPP), President Ilir Meta argued that the Head of the Economic Affairs Committee MP Arben Ahmetaj had made last minute changes in the draft-law that could further harm the public interest while benefiting clientelist interests.
The initial intent of amending the law was for the government not to accept unsolicited proposals for projects from private companies after July 1, 2019.
The changes brought by Ahmetaj few hours before the vote in parliament extended the deadline for unsolicited proposals until October 1.
As for the Milot-Balldren highway and Dukat-Orikum road, the Socialist Party MPs seating in the Economic Affairs Committee argued that the President’s refusal to sign the laws was “political and prejudging toward long-term investments.”
In returning the laws, Meta argued in details that the government had violated procedures and laws in granting concession contracts to private companies, and that the resulting draft-laws were “unconstitutional” and aimed to “pass the responsibility to Parliament, with the aim of granting an amnesty to the whole process done under complete illegality.”
The construction of the 17.2 km-long Milot–Balldren highway will cost Albanian taxpayers €260 million, whereas the 14-km-long Orikum-Dukat road, €67 million.