However, all the amendments that the socialist MP presented were voted down in Parliament. Meanwhile, Finance minister, Arben Ahmetaj, who defended the tax on incomes, said that the government has made a step forward toward protecting employees by reducing income tax for salaries falling in the 30.000- 40.000 lek bracket to only 1.89%. Meanwhile, the tax applied before for this category of incomes was 10%, based on the flat tax. Prime Minister Rama also intervened to offer his arguments on this. “IMF started its collaboration with us by demanding us to reduce salaries and pensions. IMF demanded us to tax incomes starting at 15 thousand lek, but we refused it. During the first term in office, we managed to prevent the state from going bankrupt, because flat tax was digging deep into the pockets of those who earned less”, Rama said.
Amid strong debates parliament has approved yesterday the 2019 budget, which is also the most important financial state document for next year. This budget was immediately criticized by the leader of opposition, Lulzim Basha, according to whom, the budget sinks Albanians deeper in crisis and that it serves the interests of the oligarchs. In a special press conference, Basha said that “the 2019 state budget is self-accusation that this government, which is like a criminal organization, has launched for itself”. “It’s the most catastrophic budget of the past 28 years. Public debt for Albanians will amount to 82%-84%”, he said. Meanwhile, yesterday’s plenary session, where the budget in question was approved, was associated by debates between members of the majority, because the opposition continues to boycott parliamentary proceedings. So, socialist MP Erion Braçe declared that he was against changes in the mineral tax, the tax on gambling from 15% to 30%, the increase of nontaxable income from 30 thousand to 40 thousand and the scrapping of tax for premises used by organizations for people with disabilities and bookshops.