The Governor of the Bank of Albania, Mr. Gent Sejko, participated in the online meeting of the Ministers of Finance and Governors of the Central Banks of the countries of Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe (CEE) with the Director General of the IMF, Mrs. Kristalina Georgieva, in the framework of the Annual Meetings of (IMF) and the World Bank Group (WB).
The purpose of this meeting is to discuss: (i) policy developments and measures taken by countries to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on their economies and populations; and (ii) the policy strategies needed to reduce the impact of the shock, ensure recovery, and strengthen resilience, while also addressing long-term challenges.
This meeting was opened by the greeting speech of the Director General of the IMF, Mrs. Kristalina Georgieva, who said that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, developed and emerging economies were hit hard by 2020. She added that the nature of the pandemic strike requires continued policy support, depending on the space. that these policies have in the countries of the region. Further, policymakers need to find ways to continue to support the economy as they prepare for the post-pandemic world and address long-term challenges.
Following, Mr. Alfred Kammer, Director of the Department for Europe at the IMF, presented the economic perspective of the European region, praised the timely taking of emergency measures by each country, and stressed the importance of international cooperation for effective regional and global solutions.
In this meeting, two presentations were held which aimed to share the experiences of central banks and fiscal authorities in coping with this crisis. To present the perspective of the central banks, Governor Sejko was selected, who gave a presentation on the experience and challenges faced by institutions and policy makers in our country during the management of this situation.
The governor said that globally, the economic outlook is improving from the contracting caused by Covid-19. However, multiple challenges remain for policymakers, including the limited scope of economic policies to react in the future, the long-term impact of this shock on potential growth rates, and the negative impact it may have on the economic integration process. and global policy coordination.
Further, focusing on the situation in Albania, Governor Sejko stressed that the 2019 earthquake and pandemic caused double shocks within a short period of time. In response, the Bank of Albania took immediate measures such as lowering the key interest rate and increasing liquidity injections; temporary regulatory facilitation in promoting installment deferrals and loan restructuring; suspension of dividend payments in the banking sector; as well as, the abolition of interbank transaction fees in our payment systems.
The governor added that all public actors in the country have taken coordinated and timely economic measures, in fiscal, monetary and macroprudential terms, mitigating the negative effects of the pandemic. He also highlighted the role of the Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI), granted to Albania by the IMF at the beginning of the pandemic, which supported our fiscal stimulus, eased its impact on domestic financial markets, and signaled the country's ability to access resources. various funding.
The Governor further underlined that by addressing the situation created by Covid-19, policymakers were able to identify key elements of crisis management success, such as the importance of timely emergency measures, careful policy coordination, cooperation and investment. in monetary and financial stability, in order to achieve sustainable long-term economic growth.