Better days will come for Albanian economy, and revenues will increase by 42 billion leks (411 million U.S. dollars), Finance Minister Shkelqim Cani said at the parliamentary Commission on Economy on Thursday, when he presented the 2014 budget.
According to the draft budget, public debt would be 936 billion leks (9.15 billion dollars), or 69.1 percent of the gross domestic product, this year and would rise to 74.8 percent of GDP next year, he said.
"In preparing the new budget we do not expect miracles, but realism, strong fiscal and budgetary discipline, a change of mentality in the use of public funds, responsibility and transparency. This budget has a 14,5-percent increase than that of 2013," Cani said.
"Restoring macroeconomic equilibrium, such as bringing budget deficit to the limit of 3 percent of GDP as well as reduction of public debt to 60 percent, require a mid-term program to which all should contribute," he said.
Albanian government would raise taxes from January, scrapping a flat 10 percent corporate and income tax rate. Cani unveiled plans to raise profit tax for bigger businesses to 15 percent from 10 percent and cut taxes for small businesses.
The 2014 budget, he added, "has been drafted with the support of and in full consultation with the IMF and the WB, to help restore macroeconomic stability for a sustainable development."
Speaker of Parliament and Chairman of the Socialist Movement for Integration (SMI) Ilir Meta considers new fiscal package and budget for 2014 realistic.
"This budget is not the kind of budget we all would want to meet our wishes, demands, promises and needs of Albanian citizens, but it is the most realistic alternative for the difficult situation,"Meta said at the meeting of the party presidency on Thursday.
Albanian DP chairman Lulzim Basha stated on Thursday that the new fiscal package and the new budget have devastating effects. According to him, "All Albanian sectors consider the fiscal package a personal threat to the well-being and economic stability of our family." In the assessment of the opposition leader, the new fiscal policies will bring the economy of the country and of every citizen into an abyss from which it will difficult to come out.
Former prime minister Sali Berisha said that the new fiscal policies will deeply affect economy and pointed to increase of the price of oil. He warned even about the follow-up increase of food prices. During this meeting, the former prime minister drew the attention to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and called on this institution to stick to its report of September in regard to debt.