The Albanian government gives 7.3 million euros to the Municipality of Tirana to build a new national theater – Exit
The government transferred a loan of some 900 million leks (7.3 million euros) to the municipality of Tirana for “the construction of the new building of the national theater”.
This transfer was part of the changes to the 2021 budget, which the government approved by a normative act on June 22.
It is not known what part of the construction phase this money will cover, as no information about the project has been made public. The situation becomes even more confused due to the frequent change of statements by the mayor of Tirana Erion Veliaj.
In May 2020, in an interview with Euronews, Veliaj said that “the value of the new National Theater is estimated at around 30 million euros, which will be provided through loans”.
He said the loan would be taken from a commercial bank, adding that “17 banks have submitted offers and one will be selected. Repayments will begin in 2025.
Then, in November 2020, Veliaj asked the Assembly to build the theater with money from the state budget, requesting some 36 million euros from the government for this purpose.
But in May 2021, in a comment given to the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung, the municipality indicated that the works for the construction of the National Theater will begin this summer and will be financed by the Abu Dhabi Fund.
This whole series of contradictory attitudes came after the Municipality tried to build the theater through a private concession.
In 2018, the government said it could not afford the 30 million euros needed to build the new theater. They then created a “special law” that would see public land turned over to the construction company Fusha shpk for construction.
The land includes some of the most sought after and valuable spaces in the country.
President Ilir Meta vetoed the law. The EU also criticized it as a violation of free competition, a principle of the Stabilization and Association Agreement between the EU and Albania.
The government then attempted to create a competitive bidding and tendering process to select the construction company. The call for tenders was organized in September 2019, but the Municipality has not announced a winner for months.
Suddenly, at the end of February 2020, Mayor Veliaj declared that after two months of negotiations with the winning company, the municipality had decided to stop the negotiations without giving a name. On this occasion, he declared that the Municipality would now build the theater on credit.