Speech of Prime Minister Edi Rama at the distribution of legalization certificates in Tirana:
Hello everyone and Happy New Year! I hope it will be a very good one for all of you! For all those who receive today the legalization documents, this New Year will be different because you will not inhabit simply the house you have built, but you will be owners of your real estate.
I want to start with those who use to send me text messages, when they see these activities in the media and they complain about not being legalized yet as residents of informal areas. I want to tell everybody, do not have any doubt, do not worry because we will do all of legalizations but we are obligated to do them one by one, as we cannot do all of them at once.
Today, I believe we have provided the indisputable evidence that those who entrusted us with the duty to govern, and hoped that through this vote they would have their houses legalized, have no doubt that they are having their houses legalized due to this trust.
Let me remind you that this process really began only two and a half years ago, because for approximately 10 months we had to look for documents, the shelves in the legalization offices where actually instead of the legalization of homes for the people need, a great bargain was made.
A great and excruciating bargain which, I am convinced, all you have gone through and have lived at your expense, as the most impossible thing was to have a home legalized. A total of 21 thousand legalizations was made in the 8 years of the old government, and over 80% of these legalizations were not dwellings, but cafeterias, hotels, motels, restaurants, business building on the roadsides, in parks, in university areas, and archaeological sites.
Whereas after two and a half years, we are able today to issue the 110 thousandth permit, with over 90% of our legalization permits being for homes, and the rest are mainly for buildings, edifices that need legalization, businesses but never on the roadsides, never in the university areas, never in archaeological sites, never where the common wealth of Albanians can be violated. This is a very big difference.
Likewise, I want to tell you that the amount of legalizations we have done in 4 months is as much as the amount of legalizations made in 8 years by the previous government. I do not exaggerate when I say this is the difference between us and them in everything, in every job, in every sector.
With this, I don’t mean that we have done a miracle or that we have been able to solve all of the problems. I just mean that we are very determined to keep going on this path we have started, with this extremely difficult turn, just as the legalizations process shows, because of major inherited problems. This is the same problem of all those residents in Tirana, Durres or other cities, who don’t have yet the ownership title of their apartments because they bought them from entrepreneurs who have breached the legalization procedures and therefore the buildings were not registered in the real estate registration office.
We have found a solution also for this complicated problem which the former mayor of Tirana promised to solve; he even made a campaign saying that Edi Rama didn’t legalize those buildings, whereas I kept saying that they could be legalized provided that the government undertook a process that was not simple at all. However, they had both the government and the municipality, and they did what they know best, a wild goose chase. 4 years passed, the former mayor left the same way he took office, and eventually he didn’t legalize a single building, he didn’t give the ownership certificate of an apartment to any family in Tirana.
In the meantime, the problem is being solved. We will do what we promised. Residents of Tirana, Durres or other cities, who live in apartments they bought long ago, but for which they haven’t received the ownership certificate, will receive their legalization permits and have their apartments registered in the real estate registration office.
We’re very happy that 52 thousand families will celebrate this New Year differently from the last one. They will celebrate it in their homes, owning already the legalization permit and having their homes registered in the real estate registration office. We are happy for them, but we are not happy with our work because, the moment somebody is happy with his own work, he’d better find a new one.
We are not happy with our work, and this is the most meaningful indicator for all those who believe in us because we ask a lot more from our work, because there are many more needs than those that we have dealt with, or many more problems than those that we have solved. This is why we are fully aware that what remains to be done is much more than what was done.
110 thousand legalizations was an unthinkable target until three years ago when we assumed office. Today, it is an achieved goal. In fact, together with the Director of ALUIZNI we said that we should aim at 100 thousand by the end of 2016. Today we are at 110 thousand. But we have not forgotten how much more than this has been done. Therefore, our work continues, and the experience gathered in this process is a very valuable experience, since the process keeps improving, while we are aware that it has its issues like any other process.
On the other hand, we are very pleased that what was seen as an exaggerated claim in the beginning, with regard to the payment of electricity in case of legalization of the dwelling, worked out well. We put a charge on electricity, with 10% reduction for those who used to pay it. Do you know how many are those who have fully paid energy of those who have received legalizations? 92%! 92% of the families that have received legalizations, today have no debt to the electricity operator. Thanks to this fact, investments in the power distribution network are continuing intensively.
I know very well that there are still problems, and that they are not small; there are big problems with the distribution of electricity especially in the winter, in certain areas more, in some others less. But let me remind you that 85% of the network of eclectic energy that we inherited dates back to the time of electrification. So, you cannot ask a government to do in little more than three years what wasn’t done in 20, 30 or 40-something years. Only those who have never worked and do not know that things are done with work can ask such a thing.
Fortunately, we are here among people who know very well what it means to build a house. A house cannot be built in the twinkling of an eye. A house cannot be built just because you want to have a home. A house is built with the hard work, sacrifices, the savings and patience with which you built your houses. The same applies to our common home, Albania.
How can a house, which we found a real mess, with foundations that threatened to crumble, with a roof that was about to break due to the weight of debts, be rebuilt and become home to all of us here together aspiring to have in our homeland, in just three and something years? Only those who do not know what work means, and think that things are done in the twinkling of an eye can think such a thing.
We will continue supporting strongly the transformation of areas where your homes are built. A necessary transformation, but who would do it except us? Nobody else. But even in this respect, I would ask everyone to see that we do not rest for a second. In Tirana, as you can see, the municipality is doing an exemplary work. The mayor also. And like all good things, this also is a good and great work that requires time, hard work and patience.
Just a few days before the end of the year, Prime Minister Edi Rama delivered to residents of municipal units of Tirana the legalization permits for their homes, thus exceeding the figure of 110 thousand legalizations across the country.
In a meeting with local residents, attended by the Minister of Urban Development Eglantina Gjermeni and ALUIZNI Director Artan Lame, the Prime Minister personally delivered to citizens the permits which they have waited for years.
Over 90% of permits distributed across the country to date have been for homes, versus 21 thousand legalization permits made by the previous government in 8 years, over 80% of which were for bars, hotels, motels, restaurants and business buildings.
Sulejman Bakiasi, a resident of the municipal unit no.5, applied for permit in 2006 and spent huge amounts of money. Now, he says he is happy because he received the legalization for free. “I applied in 2006. They took my money. They took 1 million and 200 thousand ALL and left. I don’t know where. I thank you, because this time we had them for free”, he said.
Another resident of the municipal unit No.3 thanked ALUIZNI staff for their work, and said that receiving the legalization permit was good news for his family who waited for 10 years for it to become reality. “You promised us, and we believed you and voted you. I wish you much success in the next term! Thank you for keeping your promise! I struggled 10 years to have this legalization permit. I could receive this today, in this year end. I am really happy! I want to thank in the same time the ALUIZNI employees, who are hard-working young people devoted to work. Much success and happy New Year!”
Meanwhile Luan Zaim Bushi, whose permit is the 110 thousandth permit issued, built his house in 2001 and applied for legalization procedures in 2006.
Xhemal Cara is another resident of the municipal unit No.11, who received the legalization permit and expressed confidence that the country is on track towards a better future for the younger generation. “I was impressed with your work since you became mayor of Tirana, when nobody believed that you could take down this or that tower. But everything was taken down, and Tirana was clean. I’ve been always convinced that you are the right man who will take Albania toward a European culture, and we better build a state with a European culture because this is what our children want, build Europe here”, he said.
“I thank you very much for enabling us to receive these legalizations. This is a major stress on top of all the other issues we face in our daily lives, but thanks to you and your government, this is over now”, another citizen said.