Courage and honesty are required to get out of the crisis
Only a public rebellion can protect the country from a fresh wave of deceit, extortion, and speculation aimed at further impoverishing the population and benefiting a small minority of oligarchs
Oil prices rose for the third time in only two days earlier in March, hitting a new high of 230 ALL (1.9 EUR) per liter. The only rationale offered by the Rama administration is a surge in international market prices caused by the Russia-Ukraine war, which has pushed the price to 90 USD per barrel.
The oligarchs’ deals and misgovernance, on the other hand, put a strain on Albanians’ wallets. Despite worldwide market development, oil-producing nations such as Iran, Venezuela, Libya, and others have the lowest oil prices. Only one-eighth of Albania’s estimated 400 million tons of oil reserves have been tapped. On the other side, the privatized oil sector exports all of the oil that comes out of our subsurface. As a result, all of Albania’s oil is imported, and Shefqet Kastrati is the country’s most powerful oligarch.
If fully operational, the processing of oil extracted at the refinery of Ballsh may cover the demands of 33% of the local market. On the other hand, Edi Rama could not allow his friend Shefqet to lose control of a third of the oil market. Edi Rama dismantled the oil refinery and sent the workers out into the street as a result.
The public’s displeasure at the government's arrogance was reflected by the demonstration in front of the Prime Minister. We, the activists of Organizata Politike, as well as many other citizens, took part in it. In our judgment, the “invisible hand of the free market”, as defended by Edi Rama, is neither invisible nor free.
Edi Rama’s proposals are woefully inadequate to address the effects of the economic catastrophe that has engulfed society. This is a time for political courage and honesty, both of which are absolutely absent in the oligarch-controlled government.
To get out of the crisis, these actions, in addition to the fight against corrupt and illegal assets collected over the years, are required:
Minimum basic income 18’000 ALL (150 EUR) per month per person.
Minimum salary 43’000 ALL (355 EUR) per month.
Monthly indexation of all salaries up to 100’000 ALL (~800 EUR).
Establishment of an independent national agency for oil and basket product price control and determination.
An independent investigation into the hydrocarbon oligopoly, particularly the bankruptcy and destruction of the Ballsh oil refinery.
1% tax on assets that exceed the threshold of 1,000,000 euros.
A 20% profit and dividend tax on large corporations and oligarchs.
The government, oil oligarchs, and commodity price speculators are all using fear to drive up prices. Only a public rebellion can protect the country from a fresh wave of deceit, extortion, and speculation aimed at further impoverishing the population and benefiting a small minority of oligarchs and tyrants.
Albania is going through the biggest economic crisis in the last 30 years. All prices have risen dramatically, especially for food and fuel. The government is also expected to raise the price of electricity soon.
This situation is not a natural predisposition of Albanians, nor was it produced by the war in Ukraine. It is the result of an earlier and cruel economic war that the oligarchs and rulers have declared against 99% of society.
To end the corrupt partnership between the government and the oligarchs; to seek supportive policies for the economy of the common people; to gain denied social rights such as the subsistence minimum and a dignified minimum wage; to rise up against all-encompassing social injustices; to build the infrastructure of hope;
We’ll be joining the popular protest on the 1st of May.
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