Albania posts budget surplus in early 2006

TIRANA (SeeNews) – Improved tax collection helped Albania show a budget surplus of 3.2 billion leks (26.1 million euros) in the first two months of 2006, compared to a deficit of 1.5 billion in the same period last year, Finance Ministry data showed yesterday. Budget revenue increased by 4.7 billion leks to 33 billion in the two months. «This rise is totally due to tax and customs revenue,» Finance Minister Ridvan Bode said in a statement. Revenue from customs duties was up by 32 percent on a year earlier and 16.1 percent above planned levels for the first two months, while tax revenues were 14.5 percent higher year-on-year and 5.1 percent more than the planned figure, the statement quoted Bode as saying. He gave no figures for the actual tax and customs revenues. Budget spending in the same period was flat on the year at 29.5 billion leks. «What should be mentioned for these two months is that capital investments rose 2.5 times and administrative expenses were cut by 1.5 billion leks,» Bode was quoted as saying. Albania is targeting a $130 million (108.3-million-euro) budget surplus in the first half of the current year, based on improved revenue. The money will mainly finance public infrastructure projects in the second half.