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[ALBSA-Info] Albanian PM sacks privatisation ministerIris Pilika ipilika at wellesley.edu
Wed Jan 12 20:57:33 EST 2000
Albanian PM sacks privatisation minister 07:19 p.m Jan 11, 2000 Eastern By Linda Spahia TIRANA, Jan 11 (Reuters) - Albanian Prime Minister Ilir Meta sacked his privatisation minister on Tuesday, accusing him of irregularities in licensing oil firms, and dismissed a second minister for being uncooperative, Meta's spokeswoman said. Mesila Doda told reporters Meta had officially asked President Rexhep Meidani to endorse the dismissal of Privatisation Minister Zef Preci and State Minister Prec Zogaj, the first shake-up of his three-month-old cabinet. But Preci, an economist, rejected the prime minister's charges and said his efforts to liberalise the fuel market had been undermined by Meta's closest staff. Zogaj said he had been sacked for backing the privatisation minister. Doda said Preci had been removed because he had ``broken the law in licensing two oil firms while denying permits to others who met the same conditions.'' ``Preci is responsible for having failed to take proper measures to help the fuel market function normally. He also has shown lack of transparency in his relations with the prime minister and has delayed the privatisation process,'' Doda said. Preci said his decision not to renew the licences of three oil firms to import and sell fuel in Albania was legally sound, as was his decision to grant licences to two others. ``My efforts clashed head-on with the resistance of circles whose direct economic interests were affected as a result of the markets liberalisation,'' Preci told reporters. Preci said he was the victim of an unnamed minister and officials on Meta's staff ``who had compiled the law to favour the companies which were behind them.'' Doda said that State Minister Zogaj, a former adviser to President Meidani who represents the Democratic Alliance in the five-party coalition government, had shown a ``lack of willingness, cooperation and sincerity in his relationship with the prime minister.'' Preci, an independent economist who undertook a study financed by the World Bank on corruption in Albania, pledged on taking office that he would make the sell-off of strategic enterprises like telecommunications and mines more transparent. Five foreign companies have been shortlisted to buy Albania's mobile phone monopoly AMC but Preci postponed the planned December sale until March this year.
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