Tax Dispute with "Bankers" Won't Affect Budget, Minister of Finance Says
Albanian Daily News
Published September 1, 2016

The Minister of Finances, Arben Ahmetaj, said that the international audit decision in favor of Bankers Petroleum will not affect the Albanian state budget.

"The budget deficit will not be affected. The primary balance will not change. This government, with its operations, will not create any new debt. On the contrary, this year, after many others, we will reduce the public debt," said Ahmetaj.

According to him the government has a clear plan for softening the effect of the 57 million USD bill without touching public finances.

"We will start negotiations with the company to return the money for one or two years later," Ahmetaj added.

Beside negotiations, the Minister said the budget will also benefit from the positive economic growth.

"We have very positive data, starting from crediting for corporations. There is a sensible growth that has been reflected with consumption, which has increased for the past three trimesters," Ahemtaj said.

For the rest of the year, the economic growth, according to Ahmetaj, will be assisted by foreign investments too.

"Bankers had invested very small amounts in the past two years. In the fourth trimester of this year, they will invest 40 million USD. The same goes with Shell, TAP and other private or local investments," the Minister said.

Albanian authorities lost 57 million USD billed to the Canadians of Bankers. 37 million USD out of this amount must be refunded, while the rest will not be refunded.

National Agency of Natural Resources (ABKN) said that it has lost the legal battle against the Canadian company specializing in the processing and production of oil, "Bankers Petroleum", which has been operating in Albania for years.

International auditing company published the decision in favor of Bankers, thus overthrowing the claims raised by the Albanian side.

The decision obliges the Albanian government to refund to the company 37 million USD, which it has paid until now, from the total amount of 57 million USD that the Albanian government was claiming.

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