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Ekonomia

This is the month when the increase in pensions will take place, it will be higher than in previous years due to the approach of the 2025 elections, the figure of the bonus is revealed, expert Kujtim Hoxha gives the new details

This is the month when the increase in pensions will take place, it will be

Rightfully according to the law, but also for their needs, the pensioners expected that on April 1 of this year the government would issue the decision on indexation of pensions. But this has not happened so far. Therefore, in these weeks, pensioners have been worried. Everyone asks what happens to pensions? In order to clarify everything that pensioners need to know, but also to shed light on what is happening, during an interview for "SOT" newspaper, the well-known expert of Economy, Kujtim Hoxha, spoke. According to him, the increase in pensions is expected to take place in October and it will be higher than in previous years because the government will use it for votes due to the approach of the 2025 elections. On the other hand, Mr. Hoxha has spoken both for the bonus, but also for the new pension scheme.

- Very soon, a new scheme will be applied for pensions but also for social protection as a whole. Given that the reform made in 2014 has closed its cycle and has not properly addressed the problems, the World Bank and the Albanian government are getting ready to implement a new reform, which aims to be more sustainable and bring higher incomes to retirees. In your opinion, why is Albania changing the pension scheme after 10 years?

The IMF and the World Bank tasked the Albanian government at the end of 2013 to remove the arrears and the rate of expenditure, to remove the situation from the Social Security scheme. With this, a political and not at all technical working group was taken that was used with the data of the Social Insurance Institute for the progress of the factors that have been evidenced in the annual reports of previous years. I say political because in those years it was propagated a lot by Erion Veliaj, the Minister of Labor and Vjollca Braho, director of the Social Insurance Institute, deputy. Minister in the same ministry. These put the Social Security scheme in a corner, here Ali Emini, former deputy general director of the Social Security Institute, was also in the working group; Astrit Ado, Deputy General Director of Social Insurance, today General Director of Social Insurance; Astrit Kuka, lawyer in the Directorate that supported Social Security in the Ministry of Labour. These were rewarded with 4 salaries for this scheme, as the work they did was promoted as an achievement. I criticized it from the beginning because the task force did not take into account the factors that influenced the deterioration of Social Security, and the situation for the income of citizens who benefited from Social Security also worsened. These invented the social pension, which reduced the social protection of citizens, reduced from the minimum pension before 2013 to the social pension which was at the limit of 7 thousand ALL, while today it is 9 thousand 343 ALL. We are in a situation where the Albanian government tried to deceive pensioners with this scheme. As it is not the first time that with their policies to the detriment of citizens, they make decisions about pensions.

- In the new scheme, the indexation of pensions is expected to be resold, where the inflation of the basket is currently taken into consideration. How likely is this?

Technicians and representatives of the Social Insurance Institute make propaganda against pensioners. Again, Astrit Ado will do the so-called reform with the dish he cooked that they are vomiting today, they will do it in a different form. They have no possibility to get out of this situation for two reasons, what I can do is the indexation of pensions, the first factor is: The number of employees in the administration has increased from 91 thousand that the government found in 2013, now it has gone to 147 thousand, and has increased the number of employees by 55%, if the number were to be reduced, pensions would increase by 110,000 ALL more. Second: 5-6 government directors were arrested, immersed in corruption and abuse of office. The main factor is the greed of Edi Rama, who does not allow pensions to increase and pensioners to be recognized for their years of work in the agricultural cooperative. Pensioners have files and take them around the courts.

-Also, the focus of the interventions will be the retirement age referring to the projections made by the 2014 reform, as well as the supplementary pensions will be affected. Can you give us more details about this?

According to the projections of the previous reform to make corrections. The average retirement benefit age is 7 years, Social Security itself propagandizes that it is 12 years. This is incorrect information. There can be no experiments with supplementary pensions, or they are taken by judges, prosecutors, soldiers, doctors, mayors, etc., introducing this contingent devours all the contributions of the rest who can't wait to receive a pension to create the conditions of their minimum.

-Meanwhile, in April 2023, there was an indexation of pensions, but pensioners say that it is not enough and demand another indexation soon. But there is a cacophony as it is rumored that there may be an indexation now, while others say it will be in October. In your opinion, when will the next indexing be and are the indexings that are done effective?

Currently, the indexing should have been done because the annual report that is made at the end of every three months, the 2023 annual report of INSTAT has been published. Pensioners benefit absolutely nothing, at least to do the indexation of the previous years, but not even this thing they do. In fact, the indexation should have come out, but it shows that this is an irresponsible government. Last year, the indexation was done on October 1, it was 8.6%, it was below inflation. It was previously at 11%, these have started at 8.6%, it has not been able to replace inflation either. It is not yet known when the indexation will take place, but it is thought that in October I will make the indexation a little higher, using it in the electoral campaign as a promise to pensioners. Until the pensions start to be distributed, the new year comes and deceives the pensioners with only a turkey. Through the scenes they do in the prime minister, just how to lie to people to get votes.

- Is there a possibility of a bonus for retirees?

The theoretical possibilities are that pensioners are treated well, if we had a non-thief government and managed public funds, probably pensions would be close to Italy, 300-350 euros on average. Bonuses are not even discussed that will be given to pensioners, but they foresee only that 50 thousand lek of turkey.

Interviewed by: Xhoana Vrani?i