The Albanian government has decided to use the reserve fund to purchase the anti-Covid-19 vaccine, while the contract value remains undisclosed. The State Budget Reserve Fund for 2021 was 4 billion ALL in total. However, just 35 days upon the entry into force of the adopted budget for 2021, the government decided to amend it through the Normative Act dated 5.02.2021. Following this “blitz” intervention, the Reserve Fund increased by 1 billion ALL.

Coping with the Covid-19 pandemic posed a financial challenge for the government. According to the official data disclosed in the 2021 Budget report,

6 billion ALL have been allocated in the State Budget to cope with the situation. This amount will serve for several acquisitions, excluding the vaccine purchase and the health staff wage increase.

However, an official statement of Minister Anila Denaj, on November 5th, 2020, explaining the 2021 Budget, states:

“Coping with the situation caused by COVID-19, for 2021, the total cost of the priorities for managing the COVID-19 pandemic that the budget will fund is approximately 6 billion ALL, including the estimated cost of the anti-COVID vaccine (COVAX)”.

So far, the funds used to purchase the vaccine have been taken from the reserve fund.

According to the data, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization has received an upfront payment of 3.9 million USD for the provision of the Anti-Covid vaccine (as previously reported by “Faktoje”.). The Albanian government expected COVAX to provide enough vaccines to cover at least 20% of the population and at-risk groups. Therefore, a few weeks ago, the Albanian government approved a secret contract with Pfizer to acquire 500 thousand vaccination doses.

For this contract, the Albanian government has decided to spend from the State Budget Reserve Fund, avoiding the 6 billion ALL fund intended to manage the Covid situation.

The financial effects resulting from the agreement attached to this Normative Act, shall be covered by the State Budget Reserve Fund for 2021”, states the Normative Act dated January 10th, 2021, published in the Official Journal.

We have learned that the government has spent the Reserve Fund since the beginning of the budgetary year to purchase the vaccine instead of using the funds planned in November.

The State Budget Reserve Fund for 2021 was 4 billion ALL in total. Just ten days after the entry into force of the Budget, the government decided to touch the Reserve Fund to cover the vaccine’s expenses, which the government should have foreseen.

Amounts in billion ALL  Source: Ministry of Finance and Economy

The problem of foreseeing the vaccine expenses and the use of the Reserve Fund in the first month of the year resulted in the government’s revision of the 2021 Budget, just 35 days upon its entry into force. The 2021 Budget was amended through the Normative Act dated 5.02.2021, whereby the Reserve Fund increased by 1 billion ALL.

Although the government refused to disclose the value of the contract with Pfizer, arguing that it constitutes a trade secret, observing the progress and the use of the Reserve Fund may shed some light on it.