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Albania’s Gov’t Increases Wages, Pensions to Tackle Energy Bill Crisis

Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama announced here on Thursday a new “Social Resistance Package” of measures to tackle the rising prices and the energy crisis.

“The package is conceived as medium-term support, not as temporary support extending over one, two or three months … taking into consideration the fact that this crisis is of an unpredictable nature and no one knows when it will end,” Rama told a press conference.

He said that for the first time, the new package included the re-indexation of pensions within the same year to adjust them to the inflation rate. Old-age pensions will be indexed up 9.5 percent in 2022 for the country’s 674,000 pensioners.

The government also increases monthly economic assistance to single mothers with two children and disabled people.

The monthly minimum wage will increase from 32,000 Albanian lek (272 U.S. dollars) to 34,000 Albanian lek. The country’s 41,000 public sector employees will see their salaries increased by 7 percent.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Energy and Infrastructure Belinda Balluku said that from Oct. 1, for all families that consume more than 800 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per month will pay the market price of 42 lek per kwh.

Only “a very small group of residents” — 6 percent or 7 percent — consume more than 800 kWh per month, she added.

She said that this new measure that is scheduled to remain in force until December 2023 is expected to save 100 million euros (99.8 million U.S. dollars) in the state budget.

In July, inflation rate in Albania was 7.5 percent.