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Albania: Minister Moving Ahead With Economic Reforms

  • Robert Lyle

Hong Kong, 23 September 1997 (RFE/RL) - Albanian Prime Minister Fatos Nano says his government is moving ahead on its program of economic stabilization and adjustment, including cutting the budget deficit and imposing a new VAT tax package on October 1.

Nano told the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank in Hong Kong today that the VAT will be raised to 20 percent, with additional duties on tobacco and alcohol, along with a rise in the personal income tax.

He said that while the budget deficit will be less than 16 percent of GDP (gross domestic product, a measure of the size of the economy) this year and 12 percent next, spending on health and education will be maintained at present levels. He said there will be a reduction of up to 15 percent of government employess by the end of 1998.

Nano told the global financial leaders that he is "strongly committed" to the prizatization of remaining state enterprises and that there will be a final cut-off set for restitution claims by previous owners. He says he hopes to put the national telecommunications company PTT up for sale next year and will prepare Albpetrol for privatization.