Rama-Basha Trade Barbs over Budget
Albanian Daily News
Published December 1, 2017
Democratic Party's amendments on 2018 budget and fiscal package are mathematically a 10% increase on public debt and a swift decline of USD 710 million incomes on the state budget, Prime Minister Edi Rama said during Thursday plenary session, addressing to DP leader Lulzim Basha. The clashes in parliament between Rama and opposition leader Basha came a day after Basha informed that DP had submitted several amendments to the budget for next year. But DP's amendments were turned down by majority, considering them delayed and a step back.
PM Rama commented Democratic Party's (DP) proposed amendments on 2018 budget, saying they increase public debt to 79%. The Premier said that "DP has neither an alternative vision to Albania nor an alternative program for the future besides old written ideas of the 2005 electoral program." "Actually, DP's 2018 proposition package offers nothing new but its 12-years old 2005 electoral program which does not consider today's economic and financial frame or either real opportunities and potentials," PM Rama said.
While commenting DP's proposal on turning back the flat tax rate as foreseen on their 2005 program, the Premier said that it meant higher tax to those who earn less and lower tax to higher income earners.
"Besides this, reducing VAT to 15 % as per DP's proposal is unseen anywhere in Europe be it old or new, hence a proposal to decrease income tax would contradict our philosophy foundations to protect the disadvantaged," Rama said.
In regard to DP's amendments on salaries increase and education, PM Rama emphasised that "the salary rise is higher in the last four years than compared to the 8 years of DP's governance whereas books will be provided free to school children from first grade to fourth and to people in need."
According to PM Rama the opposition counts all the wounds it has itself inflicted to this country, meanwhile the actual government will continue to heal them through reforms the opposition never undertook.
"The budget on agriculture used to be USD 48 million in 2013 while now is USD 109 million, thus it is doubled in spite of being not enough," the Premier said.
2018 Budget has doubled and tripled economic aid funds, according to PM Rama.
Ultimately, in the context of DP's amendment on culture and sports budget increase, the Head of Government reminded the 80 thousand dollar budget on sports during their eight years of governance. "While the actual budget on culture is incomparable to that of DP's," the Premier concluded. The Democratic Party has proposed 16 amends for what the opposition leader, Lulzim Basha, considers "the money laundering budget".
"We must undo the criminal tax system that has been built during these four years, and let's establish a 9% flat tax. VAT 15% and we must increase the VAT collecting level at 12 million ALL. We will propose that the money which will be given as a gift to crime cartel oligarchs, should go to where the country most needs them", the DP leader declared. Basha underlined once again that the purpose of the Democratic Party is to shorten the mandate of this government.