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Ekonomia

Here is the latest news about the increase in pensions and salaries, who benefits and the scheme to bring the minimum pension to 300 euros, expert Klodian Muco gives the details

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The economy expert, Klodian Muco, has commented on the latest developments in terms of pension issues and not only. In a television interview, he spoke about pensions, about salary increases, as well as fields and professions that benefit from this increase. According to the expert, an increase in pensions would be made only if there was an increase in the living minimum and this would be achieved according to a special scheme which would start with the calculations of the latter first. He has also shown that the number of births has decreased and the majority of Albanians have emigrated, making the number of pensioners and those who make contributions go towards an equalization. On the other hand, expert Muco has seen as unfeasible the proposal made by the Opposition for a pension of 300 euros, underlining that the rates of misuse of money and corruption are at high levels. Meanwhile, he emphasized that there will be an increase in salaries in different professions from July this year.

-Mr. Muco, regarding pensions, it has been said that within April 1, a practice of withdrawing pensions through banking systems will begin. Do you think something like this would work, could it reduce abuse and would it be properly embraced by retirees who have a bit of a hard time approach to technology?

The introduction of money through banking systems, even pensions, certainly has a positive impact on the part of informality and on the economy as a whole. But on the other hand, difficulties will be encountered since retirees who are not so technological and will need the help of their family members. This is a good solution for pensioners living abroad but not for local pensioners who are used to the current system.

-Meanwhile, there is a proposal from the opposition to increase pensions, and we have often heard the prime minister saying "we owe a lot to Albanian pensioners". But when will Albania, in your approach, have a dignified pension for all the elderly?

In fact, I have dealt with the part of calculating the living minimum and thus then reaching the minimum pension above this minimum. In every country in the world, the minimum pension should be equal to the vital minimum, but in Albania it has been almost 15 years since this minimum has not been calculated. A non-profit organization made some calculations two years ago, but we still do not have an official communication of these figures. What I can say is that it cannot go on like this because the problems exist and pensioners are the most vulnerable layer of society. Those 64 thousand families with social assistance have a pension equal to 1/3 of the vital minimum. So the government must take these measures and move towards this value. It is also true what the Prime Minister declares, that in fact everyone wants to satisfy the pensioners, but in fact the pension scheme leaves much to be desired, this is due to the departure of the masses of the population. In the civil status, today in the registers there are somewhere around 713 thousand pensioners, i.e. the beneficiaries of the pension and those who make contributions, i.e. the employed are heading towards an equalization of 4.6 million Albanians, but only 50% of them actually live in the country based on preliminary data . This has led to a rapid aging of the population. The data from INSTAT also showed that we have a smaller number of births, almost 5000 births less compared to a few years ago. So these have made the number of pensioners, i.e. pension beneficiaries, and those who make contributions, i.e. employees, are moving towards an equalization. This is one of the biggest challenges facing our country today and a solution must be found.

-Meanwhile, the opposition has also talked about a pension of 300 euros, however desired, is this figure feasible?

It is very difficult to realize and of course it cannot be realized immediately as a special scheme must be made which must be achieved within a 5 year period. Taking as an example the methodology used by EUROSTAT within 5 years there should be a continuous intervention in pensions, intervention which should reach the figure of 300 euros Within this time. So, is the proposal of the Opposition right? Of course, yes, but is it feasible for the state budget? This is relatively very difficult. Can it be done? Yes, definitely, but this would only be done if spending in other areas such as infrastructure were limited, since as we know, abuses are made in public tenders. So corruption is high because otherwise we would have enough money to achieve this objective.

- Are there studies that show the rates of corruption in Albania?

There are a number of studies on the impact that corruption has on economic growth, on foreign direct investments, etc. What is the level of corruption in Albania? It is discussed that it should be over 20%. We make the calculations taking into consideration the violations committed by the HLSC as well as the public investments, which amount to 20% embezzlement and corruption, mainly corruption.

-Mr. Muco, we also talked about the salary increase, but there are many questions regarding this, perhaps even from the employees of the administration. Do you know what has happened to salaries since the promise given by the Prime Minister.

Unlike other promises, the salary promise is seen as the most fulfilled promise because the salary scheme is on the way to improvement. This has come as a result of the increase in the minimum wage and the increase in the salary in the public administration. This then puts a pressure on the salary increase even in private businesses and this is the way to improve this scheme.

-In the meantime, can the increase in wages also lead to an increase in pensions since the taxes paid are also increased?

Of course, social and health insurance contributions increase, which include 24.5% and 3.4% of the gross salary, respectively. There is talk of July 1st and now all we have to do is wait. On this date, it will be discussed how much this increase will be, as well as what will be the professions that will be affected by this increase, where doctors, teachers and others are mentioned.

- So from July we will see changes for this based on what has been said?

Based on the forecasts as well as the 2024 budget that was discussed at the end of 2023, the salary increase was also taken into consideration. So I think that from July there will be an increase, but how much this increase will be remains to be seen.