TemA Special Report/COVID-19: Govt meets to discuss measures

In a meeting with government ministers, the PM addressed several issues such as the construction of homes destroyed by the November earthquake and the payment of taxes and utility bills in the midst of a difficult financial situation caused by the lockdown that the government has imposed due to the coronavirus outbreak

The Albanian government held a meeting today in a virtual format to discuss the measures that need to be taken following the outbreak of the coronavirus in the country.  During this meeting, Prime Minister Edi Rama called for a swift response to citizens’ concerns.

What will the government do with people who became homeless as a result of the earthquake?

One of the main topics of the agenda was the accommodation of people who were left homeless as a result of the destructive earthquake that hit the country on November 26. According to him,  the Ministry of Finances has a 1 billion ALL find at its disposal to pay the rent of residents of Durres whose home have either been destroyed or become inhabitable by the earthquake. He also advised people not to worry about landlords knocking on their door asking for the monthly rent as they will be dealt with by the government.

Rama also addressed the issue of those people who are waiting the construction of their new houses saying that they won’t have to wait for coronavirus to leave in order to have their new houses and vowed that the houses of those affected by the earthquake will turn out better than they were before the earthquake.

In the meantime, the Minister for Reconstruction, Arben Ahmetaj, confirmed the fact that there are 1 billion leks at the disposal of the ministry to pay the rent of these people who are homeless due to the earthquake and said that the full list must be revised for it to be correct before further procedures take place.

Payment of utility bills and taxes

Another matter discussed in the meeting was the fact that many people and businesses are unable to pay electricity and water bills, taxes and insurance due to the fact that the coronavirus situation has made it difficult or impossible for them.

As far as businesses are concerned, the PM said that they will submit their financial statements in July instead of the end of March.

“Taxes, social and health insurance contributions will be paid, otherwise we can’t move forward in this war. We might end up in a pit where even corona won’t be able to find us. Electricity bills will also be paid regularly, otherwise there will be cuts. Once a negative chain reaction is created, we can end up in collapse. We have written off late payment fees completely. Whoever says they can’t pay electricity bills, must not use electricity, there is no other way”, Rama said.

Elderly people, the most threatened category by the virus

Prime Minister Rama also spoke about the need to keep elderly people at home and the measures to be taken to protect the most vulnerable of this pandemic. He stated that police patrols should stop every elderly person who leaves home if not for necessities and should send them back home. The head of government also said that pensions must be indexed and that 20 million euros will be paid to pensioners.

He also said that retired people will receive their pension at home, otherwise, the long queues outside the post office will create big gatherings and enable the virus to spread. TemA

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