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List: ALBSA-Info

[ALBSA-Info] Albanian PM sacks privatisation minister

Iris 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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