Government arrears are becoming a real burden on public finances. Although the government pledged that it would keep them under control, this still looks as mission impossible. The ministry of Finance and Economy also admits this. In the latest figures that it has published, this ministry admits that arrears at the end of the year amounted to 6.2 billion leks. Most of outstanding payments relate infrastructural works. The value of these payments is 2.7 billion leks. In terms of ministries, the one which has incurred most debts is the ministry of Infrastructure and Energy with 3.2 billion leks. In other words, this ministry incurred half of the outstanding payments accumulated until the end of 2018. Meanwhile, this ministry has also incurred around 700 million leks of debts due to court rulings. On the other hand, a part of the debt also relates to the government’s failure to refund Value Added Tax to businesses. This debt amounts to 105 million leks. Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy is followed by the ministry of Defence with 988 million leks worth of outstanding payments until the end of 2018. Then there’s the ministry of Interior with outstanding payments amounting to 735 million leks. The list continues with the ministry of Health and Social protection which has outstanding payments amounting to 377 million leks and the ministry of Economy and Finance with 340 million leks in debt.
Arrears cause stalemate
Economy experts consider outstanding payments to be a sign of irresponsibility by the government. According to them, they have serious consequences on the country’s economy causing a stalemate. This has been confirmed yesterday by prominent economy experts, Selami Xhepa who has commented the failure of the government to pay the outstanding amounts owed to businesses and individuals. On the other hand, Xhepa suggests that the government should be careful when contracting public works, as it shouldn’t spend more than it can afford. As far as the bill incurred as a result of people being dismissed from work is concerned, Xhepa says that a public administration which lacks stability is inefficient.
Ministry of Culture has only incurred 3.8 million leks worth of debt
While the amount of outstanding payments incurred by many ministries accounts for hundreds of millions of leks, there are also government ministries which have lower amounts of arrears. One of them is the ministry of Culture, which, based on the figures, is responsible for only 3.8 million leks worth of outstanding payments. Meanwhile, outstanding payments for all other ministries are in double digit figures.