The Manager of the World Bank Office in Albania, Maryam Salim said that the World Bank will continue to be a strong partner and will support Albania at every step.
In a television interview, she said that, according to the latest World Bank report "Global Economic Outlook", the coronavirus pandemic is expected to shrink the world economy by 5.2%. Albania is no exception in this respect. "According to the World Bank baseline scenario, the Albanian economy is likely to shrink by 5%."
But she stressed, the good news is that in the short term, growth is expected to recover strongly, as economic activity gradually returns to normal.
Asked about the government's financial packages to alleviate the situation created by COVID-19, Salim said that “The Albanian government understood this from the beginning of the crisis and immediately approved and implemented economic policy packages. "These measures have helped to amortize some of the losses of the private sector, improve the liquidity of businesses and support the affected families."
"Credit guarantee schemes are an increasingly used form of government intervention in support of businesses to obtain financing," he said, adding that "these schemes emerge as a worldwide policy response to the needs of business financing in the context of the COVID-19 crisis ”.
The Albanian government, she continued, has introduced two programs with a beneficiary group and a deadline set to guarantee lending in this emergency situation in support of enterprises affected by the crisis.
According to her, during the blockade measures, economic policy measures to preserve jobs and provide support to people in need have been necessary. Albania has understood this since the beginning of the crisis and has rapidly adopted the first and second economic policy packages.
The government has announced that it plans to implement a medium-term recovery plan, called "Albania 2030". Overall, this is a good approach for drawing up a coherent vision of how to revive the economy. "But just as important are the details, what will be the measures that will be proposed, as well as how well and how quickly they will be implemented", - declared Salim.
Regarding bad loans, Salim stressed that “Albanian authorities in recent years have taken important measures to strengthen the legal and regulatory framework related to bad loans. "They have not only reduced the stock of bad loans from the highest level of 25% in 2014 to 8.3% in January 2020, but they also serve as a package of instruments to prevent the creation of new bad loans."
Salim said that, with the exit from the blockade measures, it is very important for Albania to gradually move towards a model of public health that helps prevent new cases of COVID, but also allows the resumption of economic life, respecting the requirements for physical distancing .
"Reconstruction work must continue on the aftermath of the quake, which could boost recovery. The measures that will enable tourism this summer can ensure that this year's season is not completely lost in Albania. "Financial instruments, such as loan guarantee schemes, can unlock lending opportunities, which will enable businesses to get back on the move in the coming months," she said.