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ATCI: Albanian Times, 98-01-19

The Albanian Times (by AlbAmerica Trade & Consulting International) Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: AlbAmerica Trade & Consulting International <http://www.worldweb.net/~ww1054/>

Albanian Times
Vol. IV, No. 3 January 19, 1998


CONTENTS

  • [01] Occidental, Partners Sign Contracts on Albania Oil and Gas
  • [02] Investments in Infrastructure, A Top Priority for 1998
  • [03] Cement Factories Idling, Future Uncertain
  • [04] Italian Minister Promises Seasonal Jobs for Albanians
  • [05] Foreign Debt Estimated at $700 m
  • [06] Phare and Cross Border Programs Reactivated in Vlora
  • [07] New Book by Young Albanian American Scientist
  • [08] Business Construction Thrives Along Major Highway
  • [09] New International Airport Terminal to Double Capacity
  • [10] Official Describes 16 Other Companies as Pyramid Schemes
  • [11] Private Schools in High Demand
  • [12] Officials Contemplate Establishing Catholic University
  • [13] Telekom has $230m Project
  • [14] Migration of Northern Population Towards Lowlands
  • [15] Albanian Exports in 1997
  • [16] Minister Talks on Relations with Islamic Bank
  • [17] Suspected Pyramid Scheme Signs Bitumen Contract.
  • [18] 11,000 Homeless Families in Tirana

  • [01] Occidental, Partners Sign Contracts on Albania Oil and Gas

    LOS ANGELES, January 19 - Occidental Petroleum Corporation (NYSE: OXY) announced that a group led by its subsidiary Occidental of Albania Ltd. has signed production-sharing contracts with the National Petroleum Agency of Albania for three blocks covering more than 1.1 million acres, according to PR Newswire. Blocks A, 2 and 3 are located within the eastern portion of an onshore fold and thrust belt where more than 500 million barrels of oil and 1 trillion cubic feet of gas have been discovered. Over the three-year exploration period, Occidental will conduct a 650- kilometer seismic program, perform geologic field studies and drill two exploratory wells. Primary objectives of the exploration are thrust fault- related structures in carbonate reservoirs that are geologically similar to recent multibillion- barrel discoveries in the Apennine thrust belt area of southern Italy. Occidental, with a 50 percent interest, is the operator for a group that includes Anschutz Albania Corporation with a 30 percent interest and IPC Albania Ltd. with a 20 percent interest.

    [02] Investments in Infrastructure, A Top Priority for 1998

    TIRANA, January 13 - Albanian officials said investments in roads, ports and airports will be a top priority in 1998. The Minister of Public Affairs and Transportation Gaqo Apostoli said his ministry commands a total of ECU 225 m for such investments A contract with "Sarantopoulos" and "Falcone" a joint venture that has won a tender to construct the Durres-Rrogozhina road, is expected to be signed soon. The venture is worth ECU 20m and will be financed by EU's PHARE program. The construction is planned for to start by the end of January. Other road projects expected to begin in the second and the third quarter of this year are the Rrogozhina-Elbasan road (ECU 25m), a segment of the Rrogozhina-Lushnja highway (ECU 20m) and the 23 km long Durres-Vora highway (ECU 37m). The reconstruction of a ferry terminal in Durres has also been planned to start this year. The $30 m project is financed by PHARE, the European Bank, the Italian Government and the Kuwaiti Fund.

    [03] Cement Factories Idling, Future Uncertain

    TIRANA, January 13 - Albania's cement factories, where the state owns a stake, are searching for new foreign partners after previous contracts with foreign companies fell through. Officials blame foreign companies for failing to pay their share of the investment. Of 800,000 tons of cement that Albanian factories produced annually, the remaining factories in Vlora, Fushe-Kruja, Elbasan and Shkodra hardly turn out 200,000 tons per year. The factories have been included in a new privatisation scheme but the process cannot start unless the court decides on their disagreements with foreign partners. Officials say priority will be given to strategic investors that will introduce a development program necessary for the improvement of production capabilities, the improvement of technology and environment protection. The state's participation in the capital investments will be negotiated by the partners.

    [04] Italian Minister Promises Seasonal Jobs for Albanians

    Tirana, January 12 - The Italian Labor Minister Tiziano Treu signed a cooperation agreement in Tirana on the seasonal employment of Albanians in Italy, professional training of staff, and the establishment of private employment agencies in Albania, which will mediate for the employment of Albanian citizens in Italy and other European countries. "The seasonal employment will start by the beginning of March of this year," Treu said. "In total, according to Treu, Italy has employed 15 000 foreigners a year, while in 1998 the figure will grow to 20 000 and will include many Albanians."

    [05] Foreign Debt Estimated at $700 m

    TIRANA, January 14 - A state commission dealing with Albania's foreign debt has decided to start rescheduling negotiations, Finance Minister Arben Malaj said. Albania's foreign debt is estimated at $700 m. The state budget is expected to allocate about $28m to pay credit interests, the minister said. Malaj said the rescheduling would enable the government to guarantee without difficulty the liquidation of foreign debt. "We are going to respect all the agreements and plans previously determined in the framework of bilateral and multilateral agreements," the minister said.

    [06] Phare and Cross Border Programs Reactivated in Vlora

    VLORA, January 14 - European Union' PHARE and Cross Border programs have partially resumed in the southern port city of Vlora with several interrupted projects now underway, ATA said. An ECU 8m project for the rehabilitation of the sewage and water systems, an ECU 15 m project for transmission and measuring of the electricity, and an ECU17m project for the rehabilitation of the drinking water distribution network have restarted, according to city hall sources. An EU fund of ECU140,000 will be used for repairs to the city streets and another ECU 400,000 project for collecting garbage are also expected to start.

    [07] New Book by Young Albanian American Scientist

    Albert Lulushi, a young Albanian American computer scientist is contributing to the worlwide computer users community with a new book. "Oracle Designer 2000," a Prentice Hall publication, is a complete reference of Designer/2000, Oracle's suite of business modeling, system design, and software development tools. The CD-ROM that accompanies the book, provides supporting software which allows readers to work actively with the book, including over four hours of ScreenCam movies that show how to use Designer/2000 for Windows 95 and Windows NT. An author with a proven track record, Lulushi's first book appeared in 1996. "Developing Oracle Forms Applications" explains how to apply object-oriented programming principles to Forms development. Lulushi is a VA, USA resident and works for major computer companies.

    [08] Business Construction Thrives Along Major Highway

    TIRANA, January 14 - Construction is thriving along the Tirana-Durres highway. A number of previously planned investments by local and foreign businesses have resumed. They cover mainly the manufacturing and service businesses. The Council of Territorial Adjustment (KRRT) is considering about 18 applications by construction firms and investors demanding permits for constructions sites. The agency has approved the construction of a flour factory by an Albanian-Greek joint venture, estimated at $7m, a cosmetics factory, a tapestry factory in the town of Kamza, and a garment factory in Vaqarr.The application of an Albanian private firm to build a quarry in the village of Tufina, northeast of Tirana, has been rejected for environmental concerns.

    [09] New International Airport Terminal to Double Capacity

    TIRANA, January 13 - Albania's only international airport at Rinas is expected to double its capacity when an expansion project ends next year, the state owned Albtransport said. "The total value of the new terminal is estimated at $35m," an Albtransport official said. The existing terminal can only serve about 350 passengers a day. Two German companies, Siemens and Lufthansa, have expressed interest in the construction project that will be funded with a soft credit by the German development bank, KfW.

    [10] Official Describes 16 Other Companies as Pyramid Schemes

    TIRANA - About 16 less known companies and individuals engaged in high interest payments, thus acting as pyramid schemes, Koha Jone said. The companies mainly operated in construction and brick manufacturing, the paper said. There were also individuals who borrowed large sums from ordinary people promising high returns. Faruding Arapi, head of a state commission appointed to audit the "get-rich-quick" schemes insists that the less known money borrowing companies should be treated like the other pyramid schemes and audited alongside the other companies," he said. "Deloitte & Touche" has started the auditing of the companies VEFA, Cenaj & Co, Kamberi, Silva and M. Leka.

    [11] Private Schools in High Demand

    TIRANA - The Ministry of Education says there are about 3,000 children that attend private schools and demand is increasing. The number of students attending private high schools has reached 629. There are also three colleges with a total of 635 students. Private schools employ about 125 teachers of whom 11 foreigners. Private schools offer the students subjects not available in the ordinary schools, including computer science and advanced foreign language learning. More than 32 demands to open private schools have been presented to the Ministry of Education.

    [12] Officials Contemplate Establishing Catholic University

    TIRANA, January 15 - The Ministry of Education and Science is reviewing the law of higher education to allow the development of private higher education in Albania, and to enable the establishment of a Catholic University in the country, ministry sources reported. High Albanian officials during their visits in Rome and Vatican last year have been presented with a proposal for establishing a Catholic University in Albania. This proposal was first made to President Rexhep Meidani when he visited the Pope. According to the proposal, the new school will be a Liberal Arts University that would include departments of medicine, social and natural sciences, business, engineering, and would be open to anyone without regard to religious belief. A group of Italian experts is expected to go to Albania to study the project.

    [13] Telekom has $230m Project

    TIRANA, January 16 - The Albanian Telekom will undergo a privatization process expected to cost $230 million and to attract 220,000 suburban phone subscribers until 2002. So far, a quarter of the financing has been secured, Telekom officials say. A study on the extension of telephone network in the rural areas is underway. Presence of strategic investors has been described as crucial for the completion of the ambitious privatization project, Telekom said. The privatization process will go through a number of phases starting with an appraisal of Telekom and Albanian Mobile Communication's assets respectively within the second and the first quarter of 1998. The second phase will involve the location of the potential strategic investors.

    [14] Migration of Northern Population Towards Lowlands

    PUKA, January 14 - There has been a gradual migration of the population from northeastern areas of Albania to lowland zones over the recent years, officials in Puka said. Over 400 families have left the northeastern district of Puka and have moved towards lowland areas, including Tirana, Durres, Lezha and Shkodra. Puka has limited arable land and remains economically backward compared to the rest of the country. The Swiss Foundation "Puka '95", active in the district since 1995, is trying to help the northeastern zones to develop. The foundation has allocated to the district about $2.8m in infrastructure development money, including building of schools, health centers, roads, and bridges.

    [15] Albanian Exports in 1997

    TIRANA - Albania's exports in 1997 amount to Lek 2,185m, trade officials said. Manufactured goods consisted mainly of textiles and shoes. Raw materials occupied the the bulk of its exports. In 1997, Albania continued to import edible oil and other foods. Food exports occupied a mere 13 percent in the total export figure. Minerals represented 26 percent of total exports. Albania exports mainly to Italy and Greece followed by Bulgaria and Germany. Exports to Italy amount to about 50 percent.

    [16] Minister Talks on Relations with Islamic Bank

    Albanian Minister of Trade and Tourism Shaqir Vukaj said his government is interested in promoting economic relations with the Arab world. Vukaj, back form a visit to Saudi Arabia, said the Albanian government has agreements worth $22 m with the Islamic Development Bank. However, most of the projects have not been implemented for technical reasons. The minister warned the media against politicizing Albania's relations with the Islamic Development Bank which has a branch in capital Tirana.

    [17] Suspected Pyramid Scheme Signs Bitumen Contract.

    TIRANA, January 17 - Silva and Co, one of the biggest money borrowing companies, which is being auditioned by foreign experts, has signed a contract with a Czech company, on the sale of about 500,000 tons of bitumen. The sale would enable Silva to pay back its creditors. The Tirana based company, offered monthly interest rates of eight percent to creditors, but suspended operations a year ago when all money borrowing companies were forced to halt their activities. The bitumen will be transported to Durres port from the Selenica mine in the South.

    [18] 11,000 Homeless Families in Tirana

    TIRANA - There are about 11,000 homeless families in the Albanian capital, Tirana city hall said. The Albanian government is trying to secure foreign loans to help alleviate the problem. The Greek government has responded with a credit of 5 billion Drachmas. The Bank of Albania is also trying to establish a long-term credit system for housing purposes. <UL> </UL>

    This material was reprinted with permission of AlbAmerica Trade and Consulting International (ATCI). For more information on ATCI and the Albanian Times, please write to AlbaTimes@aol.com.

    Copyright © ATCI, 1998


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