Arab Today, arab today albania adopts 2014 budget eyes 2 growth
Last Updated : GMT 13:22:57
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Albania adopts 2014 budget, eyes 2% growth

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Arab Today, arab today Albania adopts 2014 budget, eyes 2% growth

Tirana - AFP

The Albanian parliament adopted on Saturday a 2014 budget of 3.25 billion euros ($4.46 billion), with a public deficit estimated at 6.6 percent of GDP and economic growth forecast at two percent. "This is not a crisis budget, but a clear project for changes and economy revival," Albanian Socialist Prime Minister Edi Rama, in power since September, told the deputies during the debate. Albania agreed a 300-million euro loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) earlier in December, aimed at stabilising finances in the Balkan country as the public debt has reached 67 percent of the Gross Domestic Product. The authorities forecast the debt to rise to 74.8 percent in 2014, setting up a 250 million euro budget fund to repay a part of the debt to the private sector. However Finance Minister Shkelqim Cani said the debt would be a "borderline from which it will fall down in the coming years." The government earlier said it would increase the profit tax rate for bigger businesses from 10 to 15 percent from January 1. Also, it plans to introduce personal income tax of 13 and 23 percent, depending of the amount. The centre-right opposition has strongly criticised the budget, describing it as "deeply injust, arbitrary" and warned it would lead to "financial and economic catastrophe" of Albania. It also announced a series of protests throughout the country against government's economic measures in the coming weeks. Albania, one of the poorest European countries which hopes get a green light from Brussels for its EU membership bid, has registered an unemployment rate of 12.75 percent of its working population in 2013, the statistics bureau data showed.

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