TIRANA, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- International rating agency Standard & Poor's (S&P) affirmed "B+" rating on Albania's economy, with a stable perspective despite the negative effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Minister of Finance and Economy Anila Denaj said in a Facebook post on Saturday.
Denaj said the rating is a positive indicator of the emergency situation management. The assessment, according to her, testifies the sustainability of public finances and the successful financing of the fiscal gap, curbing the pressures of the balance of payments.
S&P estimates that the pandemic and associated restrictions related to the movement of people will cause the Albanian economy to contract by 6.5 percent in 2020.
According to S&P, the pandemic has had a direct impact especially on the tourism sector around the globe, and Albania does not make an exception due to the high weight that this sector occupies in the country's economy.
The agency said the Albanian government is undertaking a strong stimulus program to limit the economic fallout from the pandemic and to resume reconstruction efforts following the November 2019 earthquake.
"The government has secured credit support from International Financial Institutions to finance the fiscal gap this year and to stop balance of payments pressures. During this year the government managed to issue another Eurobond. If the economy deteriorates more than the institutions predict, the government still has room for some further policies," S&P added.
S&P projects that the general government debt-to-GDP ratio will rise to nearly 80 percent in 2020, declining from 2021 onward as extraordinary measures are withdrawn and the economy recovers.
Also on Saturday, Minister of Health and Social Protection Ogerta Manastirliu said some 300 doctors and nurses would be added to the Albanian health system in response to the medium-term plan and strategy for the situation caused by the pandemic.
To date, Albania has registered a total of 5,396 COVID-19 cases, with 2,961 recoveries and 161 fatalities, according to health authorities. Enditem