Municipal Finances in the COVID-19 Context: The Case of Gazi Baba and Shkodër Municipalities
Annual Review of Territorial Governance in the Western Balkans, II, 2020, 73-95 Journal
Merita Toska, Marjan Nikolov, Vesna Garvanlieva Andonova, Sasho Trajkov
The COVID-19 pandemic challenged governments of all levels, all around the world, requiring an immediate response. The Governments of Albania and North Macedonia, intervened with support packages aimed at mitigating the negative effects of the health emergency, which soon transformed into a socio-economic crisis. In both neighbouring countries, the outbreak of COVID-19 found municipalities on the front lines of response, protecting their communities and ensuring the continuity of their activities, while facing financial constraints. Lockdown measures, freezing of economic activities, and eased local fiscal policies reduced the inflow of municipal revenues, while municipalities faced a growing expenditure to alleviate the negative impact on the most vulnerable people, and to adapt to remote working while ensuring the provision of essential public services. Findings from Toto, et al. (2020) and Prorok et al. (2020) suggest that the inadequacy of financial resources has been assessed as the main challenge that municipalities face amidst the COVID-19 crisis.
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