Prishtina, 26 February 2004 – The Kosovar Daily “Zëri” carries the third part of a special six-day long series on ‘five years of UNMIK work in Kosovo’. The publication was supported by the Swedish Helsinki Committee for Human Rights.
Under the headline ‘Privatization in Kosovo, from an excellent start to a political blockage with fatal consequences’, the article says that the process of privatization has been stuck.
A simple calculation would reveal that with the pace the process of privatization was moving ahead in Kosovo, it would take no less than 65 years to complete the transformation of the social property. Meanwhile the KTA has an obligation to complete the process by June next year (2005), a deadline that would be met if Nicholas Lambsdorff and Marie Fucci had not come to Kosovo, who tied the hands and legs of the process.
Fucci and Lambsdorff have taken many steps without consulting anybody from the local institutions or other officials involved in the process. Also, Marie Fucci, supported by Lambsdorff, had reorganized the KTA by downsizing some positions for locals and internationals, plus some changes in the operational policies.
The article explains how privatization started, and the negative impact the suspension of the process could have on the future economic developments.
The second page of the article tackles unemployment saying that figures of poverty were alarming.
According to a survey done by ‘Riinvest’, 19 % of Kosovar families considered themselves as poor, 30.9 % considered their standard below the average, while 47 % considered themselves as ‘average’. 53.000 families in Kosovo were receiving social assistance, according to the Minister of Labor and Social Welfare, Ahmet Isufi, while 378.000 Kosovars were looking for jobs.
In terms of consequences for the ‘gray economy’ in Kosovo, the article implies that ‘zero tolerance’ should really mean ‘zero tolerance’ for economic crimes.
The article further suggests that the Government of Kosovo should draft a more rigorous strategy for controlling fiscal and customs affairs.
Local producers thought that the fiscal economy was de-stimulating for them, while UNMIK said that the tax regime was economically effective and promoted economic development.