The Albanian Government spent ALL 16.5 billion in 2020, but has yet to publish the complete list of beneficiaries and reconstructed facilities pertaining to the reconstruction process. The State Supreme Audit and International Monetary Fund demand transparency regarding the number of completed dwellings, apartments, schools, or public facilities, those under reconstruction and those to be commenced by the end of this year. The same information is also required about reconstruction grants. On the other hand, in its latest report, the State Supreme Audit clearly states that a lack of documentation has been noted in this process and that there is no general reconstruction program, the decision-making was not based on proper planning, and there is no periodic monitoring of the reconstruction process progress being conducted, thus leading to a lack of transparency as regards process performance.
In the past two years, “Faktoje” has repeatedly requested this information, which is yet to be provided by the responsible institutions.
At a time when the Albanian Government is legally committed to ensuring complete transparency of the process, the budget implementation report “Earthquake Reconstruction Program” provides data on the funds utilized in 2020, but no actual details on projects and progress thereof. Moreover, the related report entitled “Report on the Use of Reconstruction Budgetary Funds 2020” provides only general data as well.
Annual Budget Implementation Report 2020
According to this report, it is noted that as of December 31, 2020, ALL 15.3 billion were spent from the expenditure units, which is a different amount from that reported in the fiscal indicators of the Ministry of Finance and Economy, amounting to ALL 16.59 billion.
Report on the Reconstruction Fund 2020
In accordance with the law, the International Monetary Fund requires reconstruction expenditures to be within established budgetary system management controls, as is the case for all other expenditures. In its statement, the IMF emphasizes the role of the State Supreme Audit and looks forward to the Audit Report on reconstruction and pandemic-related spending.
The IMF highlights that it “welcomes the ongoing process of implementing a public registry of beneficial owners and looks forward to the imminent completion and publication of the SSA’s audit of earthquake and pandemic-related spending in 2020.”
“Faktoje” has closely monitored these indicators and has published several articles in this regard. As stated by the Government, the progress of loan absorption from the Donor’s Conference in 2020 was low. “Faktoje” paid attention to the progress of fund absorption (loans and donations) from the Donor’s Conference.
Furthermore, “Faktoje” also focused on the payments made by Municipalities for reconstruction funds during 2020, and has identified Durrës Municipality as the main unit of grant provision.
The key takeaways from these two reports include:
Data listed on the table were obtained from the 2 reports on the Reconstruction Program submitted to the Parliament.
In the table above, as regards the conclusion on the level of signed loans amounting to EUR 90 million, this is not reflected in the debt registry published in late 2020, according to the loans listed in the foreign loan registry.
What stands out is that the Albanian Government does not report on the progress of the disbursement and realization of grants by foreign donors in 2020. The progress of such disbursements, be they financial or in kind, should have been reflected in the fiscal indicators for 2020 and should have been included in the report submitted to the Albanian Parliament. “Faktoje” has submitted a request for information on this matter and will report on the replies of the Albanian Government in the upcoming days.