The Ombudsman, Igli Totozani explains for IBNA the details of the study which is conducted for the first time
By Edison Kurani
Minimum living standard in Albania is 16 thousand ALL or 115 euros, says a report which is issued for the first time upon the request of the Ombudsman.
The calculation of the Minimum Living Standard has been done by the Albanian Center for Economic Research, contracted by the Ombudsman.
The Ombudsman, Igli Totozani, says that the institution that he chairs has been making, for five years in a row, requests and constant recommendations to the governments in order to officially declare the minimum living standard, but nothing has been realized. Thus, upon its incentive, this institution decided to calculate this minimum living standard. The Ombudsman contracted the Albanian Center for Economic Research (ACER) to carry out this study: “The Calculation of the Minimum Standard-From the minimum standard for survival toward a reasonable living standard”.
Totozani explains that 16,000 ALL a month per person is the minimum living standard in Albania, calculated through a study that uses contemporary methods, with independent economy experts.
“The method which is used for this study is that of absolute poverty. The minimum living standard has been calculated based on the food basket. Out of 16.000 ALL a month, 7,089 go toward food expenses and 8,913 ALL for non food expenses”.
The Ombudsman says that in contrast to other studies on the minimum living standards, the value determined by this study takes into account social aspects and consumption tendencies in our country.
“The minimum living standard makes up the basis on which wages should be calculated along with social pensions, social allowance, disability allowance and jobseekers allowance. Of course, adjustments need to be made in terms of the number of people in a household, the number of members who work and the number of members who are over the age required to work and under the age required to work, the assets that the household possesses, etc.”
What is the minimum living standard?
The minimum living standard is the monetary amount of a number of food products needed for a normal functioning of the body of a human being and to stay healthy, along a number of non food products and a minimum number of necessary services to meet social and cultural needs.
The Albanian legislation still lacks a special provision dedicated to minimum living standards and a legal definition of it alongside a legal obligation for its calculation. The first important calculation of a minimum living standard in Albania was incorporated in the Labor Code 1995, but in the amendments that have been made in the following years, the concept of a minimum living standard has been removed.
In Albania, the level of pensions has been sanctioned by law, while the level of minimum wage, the size of social allowance, jobseekers allowance and disability allowance are determined by the Council of Ministers.
None of these poverty indicators are directly based on the indicators of minimum living standards. In fact, they appear to be lower compared to the minimum living standard.
The 16.000 ALL of minimum living standard per capita in Albania is more or less the same as other countries of Western Balkans, especially compared to Serbia and FYROM.
A cause for concern relates to the fact that the level of minimum living standard is above minimum wage, minimum pension, social allowance and jobseekers’ allowance.
To secure individuals a decent living, it would be necessary to rise above the minimum standard of living to a reasonable standard of living. This reasonable standard of living is one which meets physical, psychological and social needs of a person. This doesn’t mean that the state must guarantee to every person a level of luxury, but it doesn’t mean that a person must live on the level of survival either.
The right for a suitable living standard is known as a human right by international human rights organizations and it implies the need to establish a minimum entitlement for food, clothes and adequate accommodation.
Therefore, the state has an obligation to pass from the need to determine a minimum living standard to that of a reasonable living standard, by preserving human dignity. /balkaneu.com/