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Opinion / Editorial

Trident fork for immigrants' savings?

Trident fork for immigrants' savings?

According to the National Institute of Statistics INSTAT, in 2022, we had 1 million 680 thousand citizens, members of the Diaspora, abroad. We have 531 thousand citizens in Italy, or 40 percent of the Diaspora. We have 430 thousand citizens in Greece, or 34 percent. There are 70 thousand of our citizens in Germany, but their number is growing strongly in the last two or three years. Likewise in Great Britain and Spain. In 25 years (1998-2022), these representatives of the Diaspora brought 24.6 billion euros to the economy of Albania. They were remittances to their families in Albania and most of them were used for consumption. For 2020 alone, Diaspora representatives brought in 1.4 billion dollars or 1.14 billion euros. They brought in more than 1 billion euros last year. All these funds are the vast majority for the survival and consumption of the beneficiary families. 23 percent of families in Albania are supported mainly by remittances from immigrants. Although the funds seem stable (they have been for the last 15 years), the medium-term and long-term future of developments in the Diaspora requires that these funds gradually decrease, as family reunifications will continue. A real "Eldorado" of funds for the representatives of the Diaspora and for the economy of our country are their savings. According to the genuine scientific researcher and the best prepared we have for the movements of our Diaspora, Dr. Ilir Gëdeshi, the savings of the representatives of our Diaspora with the money they send to their relatives in Albania are in a ratio of 5 to one. This means that for every euro they send to their homeland, they keep 5 euros at home or in the commercial banks of the countries where they live. If we then multiply the tens of billions of euros that the representatives of the Diaspora have brought to the homeland in these three decades by 5, the dimensions of "Eldorado", the immeasurable funds from the savings of immigrants, are clearly understood. The challenge lies in how a part of these funds can be withdrawn in Albania, at best, firstly for the representatives of the Diaspora and secondly, for our economy and society. We have to decide this now. It should be one of the main priorities of the government. Together with the real vote of the Diaspora in 2025. With the enthusiasm from the Athens meeting of Prime Minister Rama and from the one in Milan nine days later, on May 26, it is imperative that, in addition to supporting the personal investments of immigrants in greenhouses, hostels , etc. in Albania, we can set up with state mechanisms, structures that immigrants can trust. If we take a modest average of the savings of the New Diaspora (in the EU and Great Britain) per inhabitant of 9 thousand euros per inhabitant, knowing how savers we Albanians are, also accepted by studies of the central banks of Italy and Greece, the stock of current savings in this Diaspora is 19.3 billion euros! We need a mechanism, an Archimedean Lever, to break the wall of mistrust and fear,related to the uncertainty of investing their money in Albania. This wall has already been fed, for three decades, with urban legends about the frauds suffered by immigrants. Some are based on true bitter stories, but which do not only happen here, in Albania. In Greece, according to the data of the Athens Chamber of Commerce, there are 23 thousand Albanian businesses, where 80 percent bear Albanian names and the rest operate under Greek names. The average interest of bank time deposits in Albania is 1.2-1.5% per year, while in Italy and Greece it is slightly lower, respectively 0.8-1.2% per year and 0.9-1.3% per year. Only and simply because of this very small interest difference, the savings of Diaspora representatives cannot come to Albania, near our commercial banks. The true Archimedes' lever is shaped like a three-pronged pitchfork. First, there is the possibility of opening, with the contribution of our state, an investment bank, a development bank. Such an approach was chosen by North Macedonia for its Diaspora and it has been successful. Secondly, there are investment funds that can attract the savings of the Diaspora. The most classic example consists of investment funds, first opened with state guarantees and then passed entirely into the hands of private structures, in Ireland in the years 1980-2000. These investment funds attracted significant amounts of savings of Irish citizens abroad, especially in the USA. They were used for significant investment and contributed to Ireland's economic boom in the 1990s-2010s. Thirdly, there are Diaspora bonds, issued by the State. Diaspora bonds have been issued by the State of Israel since 1951. They managed to collect over 25 billion dollars. India has also successfully issued government or private bonds. Raised US$11 billion in two issues (exit) for Diaspora. Will our government try these approaches, especially after the prime minister's three trips to Milan, London and Dusseldorf?Such an approach was chosen by North Macedonia for its Diaspora and it has been successful. Secondly, there are investment funds that can attract the savings of the Diaspora. The most classic example consists of investment funds, first opened with state guarantees and then passed entirely into the hands of private structures, in Ireland in the years 1980-2000. These investment funds attracted significant amounts of savings of Irish citizens abroad, especially in the USA. They were used for significant investment and contributed to Ireland's economic boom in the 1990s-2010s. Thirdly, there are Diaspora bonds, issued by the State. Diaspora bonds have been issued by the State of Israel since 1951. They managed to collect over 25 billion dollars. India has also successfully issued government or private bonds. Raised US$11 billion with two issues (exit) for Diaspora. Will our government try these approaches, especially after the prime minister's three trips to Milan, London and Dusseldorf?Such an approach was chosen by North Macedonia for its Diaspora and it has been successful. Secondly, there are investment funds that can attract the savings of the Diaspora. The most classic example consists of investment funds, first opened with state guarantees and then passed entirely into the hands of private structures, in Ireland in the years 1980-2000. These investment funds attracted significant amounts of savings of Irish citizens abroad, especially in the USA. They were used for significant investment and contributed to Ireland's economic boom in the 1990s-2010s. Thirdly, there are Diaspora bonds, issued by the State. Diaspora bonds have been issued by the State of Israel since 1951. They managed to collect over 25 billion dollars. India has also successfully issued government or private bonds. Raised US$11 billion with two issues (exit) for Diaspora. Will our government try these approaches, especially after the prime minister's three trips to Milan, London and Dusseldorf?