Albania doubles the salaries for MPs and ministers but has not determined the minimum wage

At the Albanian Parliament
At the Albanian Parliament 
 The Parliament in Albania voted on Thursday the draft law that increases salaries for the position of the President, Prime Minister, ministers, deputies, and public administration employees.

The left and right-wing deputies joined their votes for their salaries, and the law received 95 votes in favor and only three against.

The package of three laws approved in Parliament foresees an increase in the competencies of the Council of Ministers in determining salaries in the public sector, salary increases for judges and prosecutors, and a new salary increase scheme for the public administration, respecting what is known as the salary hierarchy, where the highest salary is for the President.

"The salary levels are not determined based on whim. But based on a specific expertise. There is a salary pyramid. The President of the Republic cannot be paid less than a teacher, and we cannot have prosecutors who are paid more than the President," said Rama, who made it clear that he would not vote for the point that foresees the salary increase for the deputies.

In fact, the salary increase for the deputies was not foreseen in the draft prepared by the Government of Albania but became part of it at the request of deputies from both political sides during the discussions in the parliamentary Economic Commission.

Former Prime Minister Sali Berisha also expressed his opposition to the salary increase for the deputies.

He said that the doubling of salaries for high-ranking officials is a "shameful act" and that the government's scheme does not increase salaries in the public sector, considering the level of inflation.

Regarding the overall salary increase in the public sector, Prime Minister Rama said that with this decision, a process is opened that leads to an average salary of 900 euros in the coming spring.

"According to all indications, with this forecast, we reach the highest level in the region," said Rama.

The Chairman of the parliamentary group of the Democratic Party, Gazment Bardhi, said that the Democratic Party will approve the salary increase, even though it is a delayed decision.

"Today is the day for us to raise our voice for pensioners, who always remain last. We are led by a corrupt government that only pays to buy votes," said Bardhi.

The Minister of Economy and Finance, Delina Ibrahimaj, said that the financial effect of the salary reform will be 39 billion lek (Albanian currency), and it will benefit 130,330 employees.

According to the law passed in Parliament, the salary of deputies will be doubled from the current 156,770 lek to 310,250 lek (2,820 euros), while ministers' salaries will increase from 174,760 lek to 318,750 lek gross (2,897 euros).

The salary of the Prime Minister and the Speaker of Parliament will be raised to almost 400,000 lek (3,636 euros) from 228,000 lek, which is the current amount.

The President's salary will increase to 425,000 lek (3,863 euros) from the current 257,000 lek.
Although the law comes into effect in June, the beneficiaries will receive the salary increase starting from the month of April.

While the salary increase was being debated in Parliament, activists from the "Bashkë" Movement held a protest outside the building.

The young protesters threw eggs at the deputies entering Parliament and held banners saying, "Don't get full" and "Thieves."

The leaders of this movement described the decision to increase salaries for high-ranking officials in Albania as "disgusting" at a time when the minimum pension remains at 8,000 lek (72 euros) and the average pension at 15,000 lek (136 euros).

Albania does not even have a minimum living wage.
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