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    Archive for October, 2008

    Albania pyramid schemes in 1997 scenario

    Posted by franksupa on October 22, 2008

    States throughout the Balkans are taking measures to reassure citizens that their bank deposits are safe amid fearful memories of the 1990s collapse of banking systems or failure of so-called pyramid schemes.

    In response to growing tensions following the world financial crisis, the Serbian government announced on Monday it would guarantee deposits up to 50,000 euros (40,250 dollars), comparing to 3,000 euros until now.

    Belgrade officials argue that Serbia has been largely preserved from any devastating effects of the world crisis.

    Analyst Nebojsa Savic said it was good that the Serbian authorities reacted quickly and urged them to do their utmost to ‘calm down instability and prevent panic.’

    ‘Even the best financial systems would suffer serious problems if all clients withdrew their deposits at the same time,’ Savic said.

    The Serbian government also decided to abolish tax on interest rate income until the end of 2009, as well as gains on shares and bonds until 2012. Croatia has taken similar measures last week, increasing banking deposit guarantee from 19,000 to 56,000 euros.

    In Bosnia, the Central bank demanded the authorities to double a limit for the guarantee to 7,700 euros in a bid to win again the savers’ confidence in the local banking system.

    In most of the countries emerging after the break up of former Yugoslavia, citizens were deprived from their deposits in early 1990s following the collapse of banking system.

    Ever since the removal of the autocratic regime of Slobodan Milosevic in 2000, Serbia has been repaying the debt to its citizens in annual instalments.

    Acknowledging that people are worried, Serbian Central bank governor Radovan Jelasic described as ‘irresponsible’ those who tried ‘to compare the banking system in Serbia nowadays with the one in 1990s that took away savings from citizens.’

    He said: ‘At the time, those were state-owned banks in which the government appointed its own people, decided on investments and has played with somebody else’s money, while today the banks in Serbia are owned by first-class investors who can not be ordered by the state where to invest the money.’

    The governor insisted that the banks in Serbia ‘stand’ behind citizens’ savings, insisting that they were ‘liquid and solvent.’

    He said: ‘Second in line is the central bank, which keeps 40 percent of all deposits, more than in any other state in Europe, and finally the state, which pays back old deposits and (gives) guarantee for new ones up to 50,000 euros.’

    The governor urged the citizens ‘not to trust those who are playing with their emotions and memories of the past.’

    In Montenegro, Serbia’s former federation partner which had seceded in 2006, the local press has given widespread coverage to people’s concerns about the latest financial crisis, remembering the collapse in the 1990s.

    The authorities want urgently to pass a law that would guarantee both individual and enterprises’ banking deposits. The state will also guarantee inter-banking loans, Financial Minister Igor Luksic said.

    In Albania, where collapse of pyramid schemes in 1997 led to an armed rebellion, Prime Minister Sali Berisha told AFP that the ‘deposits of the Albanians in banks working in Albania are safe.’

    Pyramid schemes are investment or saving plans which offer high returns. But the returns are largely funded by newly deposited money. The schemes therefore depend on attracting ever more depositors and are unsustainable.

    The International Monetary Fund’s office in Tirana said ‘there is not a single worrying sign at this stage’ in the banking sector.

    The country was less integrated to the world’s economy and therefore ‘somehow a bit protected’ from the ongoing financial crisis, it said.

    In Macedonia, Deputy Prime Minister Zoran Stavrevski urged citizens ‘not to be afraid’ as banks based in Skopje were ‘only a little’ affected by the world crisis.

    source:thanks to business.asiaone.com

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    Albania looks to institutionalize key reforms

    Posted by franksupa on October 22, 2008

    At a ceremony today in Tirana, Albanian Minister of Finance Ridvan Bode and Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Deputy Vice President for Policy and International Relations Sherri Kraham officiated at a ceremony celebrating the signing of Albania’s second MCC threshold program worth over $15.7 million. This second, or Stage II, program builds upon the significant successes of MCC’s first threshold program with Albania and looks to institutionalize key reforms in public administration and judicial capacity building and to support anticorruption activities. Albania’s Prime Minister Sali Berisha, United States Ambassador to Albania John Withers and United States Agency for International Development Mission Director Roberta Mahoney also participated in the ceremony.

    “It is a great pleasure to celebrate progress underway here in Albania, as we mark the successes of Albania’s first threshold program and the start of its second,” stated Ms. Kraham. “MCC is proud to sign its first Stage II program with the government of Albania and looks forward to creating a strong foundation for fighting poverty and stimulating economic growth,” Ms. Kraham added.

    MCC’s threshold programs are designed to assist countries that are on the “threshold” of eligibility for the larger, longer-term Millennium Challenge Account grants, or compacts. Threshold program assistance is used to help countries address the specific policy areas for improvement indicated by their scores on 17 independent policy indicators in three categories — Ruling Justly, Investing in People, and Encouraging Economic Freedom. These policy indicators are central to the criteria and methodology for compact eligibility and are based upon reports by a wide range of respected international institutions and national data. Each indicator was selected based on its relationship to growth and poverty reduction, the number of countries it covers, its transparency and availability, its analytical rigor, and its objectivity.

    MCC’s threshold program assistance signed to date totals $440 million in 19 countries: Albania, Burkina Faso, Guyana, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyz Republic, Malawi, Moldova, Niger, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Tanzania, Uganda, Ukraine and Zambia.

    source : thanks to .isria.info

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    Albania is a secure country for investments

    Posted by franksupa on October 22, 2008

    TIRANA, Oct 22. (ATA). “Albania is a secure country for investments and government is determined to contributing for success of the business”, stressed on Tuesday Premier Sali Berisha, at the opening of the German-Albanian economic conference “Market perspectives in Albania. Energy – Environment – Construction”, which is holding its proceedings in Hotel Tirana International, with the participation of 80 German entrepreneurs.

    Considering excellent the economic relations between two countries, Premier Berisha emphasized that Germans funds amount to 800 million euro, since 1998.

    Expressing gratitude to German government and Chancellor Merkel for help given to development of our country, PM Berisha stressed, “German economic aid has been extraordinary in all fields and it has given a great contribution in transformation of Albania”.

    The Premier added that the inauguration of big number of German investors projects is a testimony of the real success of German business in Albania”. In this framework, PM Berisha also mentioned the extraordinary important projects of southern energy ring.

    Premier Berisha added that Albanian government has made great efforts for facilitation of fiscal burden and reduction of taxes, whereas the annual incomes have increased”.

    Among other things, he said, “every year, we have sent in parliament a supplementary budget, whereas in the last three months, the government has collected 3.2 billion dollars more than the three previous years”.

    Regarding corruption, Premier Berisha said, “in international reports, Albania ranks among the top 10 countries that have fought corruption”, but, he added, “corruption is like cancer, it has to be fought every day”.

    According to head of government, “Albania is a small country in the map, but a country with great potentials. Albania has an incomparable tourist potential, “Switzerland with sea”, whereas mountains are waiting for investments to turn Albania into the most attractive Alps for mountainous tourism”.

    Considering the Albanian economy as new and dynamic, Premier Berisha said that Albanian exports “Made in Albania” have increased by 42 %, annual inflation amounts to 2.7 %, whereas economic growth for first six month period is 11 %.

    Referring to international crisis, Prmeeir Berisha said, “we are not detached from the universe, but I can say that banking system is stabilized”.

    In his address, Premier Berisha focused on the criminality indicators, declaring that they are lower than the average of European Union countries”.

    Whereas, Parliamentary State Secretary in Federal Ministry of Economy of the Federal Republic of Germany, Hartmut Schauerte stressed that economic conference is a testimony of the great interest of German investors in Albania and result of admirable progress of Albania, as well as consolidation of legal framework of Albanian economy, which is evident in last years.

    Making evident the fact that German economic assistance is the highest per capita for Albania, Schauerte stressed that this has come as a result of tangible development of Albania and implementation of reforms against organized crime and corruption, as well as support of Albania government for foreign investments.

    Schauerte said that this testifies that financial assistance for Albania has been fully merited. He stressed that there is a great interest of German investors to invest in Albania in the field of thermal energy generation, urban wastes processing according to EU standards, etc.

    source: thanks to bsanna-news.ukrinform.ua/newsitem

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    Alternation of energy resources in Albania

    Posted by franksupa on October 22, 2008

    TIRANA, Oct 22. (ATA). Alternation of energy resources in Albania is necessary, Minister of Economy, Trade and Energy (ETE) Genc Ruli said at the German-Albanian economic conference “Market perspectives in Albania: Energy-Environment-Construction”, which was opened by Prime Minister Sali Berisha.

    “Improvements have been made to the law “On concessions” in 2006, but alternation of energy resources are necessary in Albania, as currently 100% of these resources in the country are water resources,” Ruli said at the conference, which was attended by a large number of Albanian and German entrepreneurs.

    “Albania has advantages in developing wind energy,” he said, stressing that the Albanian government “has given priority to the strengthening of inter-connection lines, whose building also enables power export to neighbouring countries.”

    Referring to improvements and facilities in doing business in Albania, Ruli said: “The basic legal and regulatory guarantees, which are also found in foreign countries, have been established over the last three years.

    “Albania has several competitive advantages, such as tax reduction, and the creation of the legal framework to set up a center in the form of “One Stop Shop” on permits and licenses is also being completed. This will further facilitate procedures for the business,” he said.

    Meanwhile, Ruli said that work is underway also for the development of Albanian ports, considering this a very significant step to upgrade standards of infrastructure.

    “We are conscious that problems on property titles still exist but we have approved creation of economic zones to facilitate building businesses in the country,” Ruli said, referring to the property title issue.

    He added that three industrial parks were approved last September and that other parks were being studied.

    The conference will continue for two days in Tirana and a number of government officials and business representatives are expected to read reports.

    source: bsanna-news.ukrinform.ua/newsitem

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    Kosovo nobel

    Posted by franksupa on October 18, 2008

    Martti Ahtisaari, the former Finnish president awarded the Nobel peace prize for his mediation in Kosovo and a string of other conflicts around the world, said yesterday that Serbia would have no option but to accept the new Balkan state.

    In his first interview with a British newspaper since being named Nobel laureate last week, Ahtisaari shrugged off the apparent setback to his work in Kosovo inflicted when Serbia succeeded in having its declaration of independence referred to the international court of justice.

    The 71-year old also argued that it did not matter that the former Serbian province had been recognised so far by only 51 of the world’s 192 countries. That was less important than the economic clout of the nations that did recognize Kosovo, including the US and most of western Europe.

    “It really doesn’t matter if Paraguay hasn’t recognised,” Ahtisaari said. “Well over 65% of the wealth of the world has recognized. That matters.”

    Ahtisaari was commissioned by the UN in 2005 to find a compromise solution for Kosovo’s status as a way of ending the deadlock that followed the 1999 war and Nato intervention. His plan for supervised independence coupled with extensive minority rights for Kosovo’s Serb minority was rejected by Serbia and Russia last year. However, Kosovo – with western backing – declared independence in February.

    Belgrade has vowed never to accept Kosovo’s sovereignty, but Ahtisaari said Serbia would have to relent if it wanted eventual European membership. “You can’t be poking the EU in the eye [while] saying you want to join EU,” he said.

    He sent private messages to all parties soon after taking his role as mediator, that Kosovo’s secession was inevitable. “[I said] in light of what had happened in Kosovo, the return of Kosovo to Serbia is not a viable option,” Ahtisaari said. “So since March 2006 no one should have had any illusion what my plan was going to be.”

    Russia furiously opposed Kosovo’s independence, and pointed to it as justification of its own recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, pro-Russian enclaves in Georgia. Ahtisaari rejected the parallel.

    “We did Kosovo within the UN framework. In Georgia there was not even an attempt,” he argued. “You cannot go into an independent country and do whatever you like. Even if you are Russia.”

    Ahtisaari was also involved in mediating Namibia’s independence from South Africa in 1989, and brokering peace in 2005 between the Indonesian government and separatists in Aceh. He said the secrets to successful peacemaking were research, having a clear strategy, and hiring staff who offer independent thinking. “You don’t need a single yes man,” he said. “You have to have colleagues who can challenge your own thinking.”

    source:guardian.co.uk

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    Montenegro Demonstrators Arested

    Posted by franksupa on October 16, 2008

    15 October 2008 Podgorica_Montenegrin police say they will charge 34 people in relation to rioting that broke out after an opposition rally against the government’s decision to recognize Kosovo.

    The 34 men will be charged with “violent behavior”. The clashes left 37 people injured, including 26 policemen, police spokeswoman Tamara Popovic said. She accused opposition leaders of pouring oil on troubled waters by going ahead and organizing the rally.

    About 10,000 people joined the protest in the capital, Podgorica, denouncing the decision of Milo Djukanovic’s government as a “stab in the back” to Serbia.

    Protesters chanted “Treason! Treason!” and “Kosovo is Serbia!”, as opposition speakers gave Prime Minister Djukanovic a 48-hour deadline to annul the move, call a referendum on the issue, or call early elections.

    That deadline expired at noon Wednesday. Nothing unusual took place in the Montenegrin capital after the deadline passed, though a parliamentary session and a special meeting between deputies and the Prime Minister was delayed for unspecified reasons.

    Kosovo remains a sensitive issue in Montenegro, where about one-third of the population declare themselves as Serbs. Ethnic Albanians make up around 7 per cent of the population. Montenegro was also in a loose federation with Serbia until a referendum on independence in 2006.

    Podgorica recognized Kosovo’s independence on October 9, leading Serbia to expel the Montenegrin ambassador.

    Montenegro’s decision came just a day after the UN General Assembly voted in favor of a Serbian request for the International Court of Justice to render an opinion on the legality of Kosovo’s unilaterally declared independence.

    source:balkaninsight.com

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    albanian banking will not lose money

    Posted by franksupa on October 15, 2008

    The International Monetary Fund (IMF) assured observers that Albanian banks would not suffer ill effects from the ongoing international financial crisis, as Albania´s banking sector lacked integration with the world economy, IMF representative in Tirana Ann-Margret Westin said.

    “It is a fact that banks in Albania are not exposed to the so-called ´toxic´ financial instruments that have been the source of the crisis,” Westin noted. She advised the government to follow careful fiscal policies to guarantee investors it is capable of maintaining macro-economic stability.

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    Albania to leave prosecutors

    Posted by franksupa on October 15, 2008

    EU, US urge Albania to leave prosecutors to do job
    The prosecutor’s office said it wanted Damir Fazlic, a Bosnian-British businessman, for questioning in connection with allegations first made in a newspaper of money laundering related to real estate deals.
    Wednesday, 15 October 2008 10:08
    The European Union joined the United States on Tuesday in calling on Albania’s government to stop interfering with independent prosecutors looking into possible government corruption.

    The prosecutor’s office said it wanted Damir Fazlic, a Bosnian-British businessman, for questioning in connection with allegations first made in a newspaper of money laundering related to real estate deals. The paper is run by an ally-turned-foe of Prime Minister Sali Berisha.

    Fazlic has denied the allegations.

    The EU envoys said: “This may lead to undue interference and possible institutional conflict in the country.”

    “We strongly call upon all, in particular the government, to respect the constitutional provisions and principles of good governance, including accountability to the law,” they added in a statement issued by the French embassy, the current EU chair.

    EU ambassadors said they were troubled by “recent developments concerning the judicial system” after the General Prosecutor’s office said police refused its request to invite a man for questioning before he left Albania.

    The European Union has told Albania it needs to do more to fight organised crime and corruption as well as foster democracy and respect the independence of institutions if it wants to advance its bid to join the bloc.

    On Monday, the U.S. embassy voiced similar worries.

    “All cases should be fully, completely and independently investigated without any outside interference or threats to prosecutors. Respect of all independent institutions is essential for a healthy democracy,” the U.S. spokesman said.

    Fazlic flew to Tirana on a private jet last Wednesday and left one hour before his scheduled flight, and before prosecutors could catch up with him at the airport.

    Berisha has defended the police action, saying prosecutors could not order officers to hold someone for questioning.

    “Even if the worst enemy of the prime minister would have been stopped in this way, it would have been a big shame for the country,” Berisha told a news conference on Monday.

    “I cannot have another opinion … when this gentleman happens tobe a friend of the prime minister, a man who has contributed to my election campaign. I also said he would be investigated to see if he has taken any money from public funds.”

    Berisha came to power in 2005 promising to govern with “clean hands”, but his government has also been accused of corruption and two of his ministers have had their immunities stripped to be investigated for abuse of office.

    After Prosecutor General Ina Rama asked her staff not to cave in to pressure after the row over Fazlic, Berisha said he would call in foreign experts to look into government corruption cases. His party said Rama could be investigated.

    source: Reuters

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