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BIRN: The government also gives KKT the management of the maritime space

The Parliamentary Committee on Laws and the Committee on Productive Activity and the Environment reviewed on Tuesday the government's draft law on the amendment of the law "On planning and development of the territory", a draft of proposals that provides for a "one stop shop" for permit applications and increased powers for the National Council of the Territory.

According to the draft, this body will be given the right to develop the country's water space by changing its name to the "National Land and Water Council" (KKTU), as well as create an accelerated mechanism for building permit applicants , where every document needed by other state agencies and institutions will be provided by a special technical secretariat.

KKTU, according to the amendments, will approve permits and authorizations for the use of water resources, the construction of ports, artificial islands in the sea, protective structures, etc., as well as the drafting of the "National Maritime Space Plan".

Also, under an article called "development incentives", the draft law foresees "accelerated procedures or development incentives for investors or certain requirements" in two cases; strategic investments and complex developments within the coastal belt.

Opposition MPs opposed the changes, accusing the government and the majority of creating tailor-made laws that serve only a few.

The head of the DP parliamentary group, Gazment Bardhi, said that the law expands the powers of the prime minister and treats the ordinary citizen unequally with the strategic investor.

"Olta Xhaçka, has a completely preferential treatment when he builds the 5 million euro hotel, on stolen land with forged documents in relation to a citizen who wants to fix a roof or a window" - he said, referring to the accelerated procedures.

Also, according to Bardhi, the legalization of illegality and the avoidance of criminal responsibility for these categories is foreseen.

Deputy Dhurata Çupi asked to be withdrawn from the agenda and to give time to the opposition to bring its proposals article by article for the draft law, a request that was accepted by the majority in the Laws Committee.

Even in the commission for Production Activities and the Environment, there was opposition from the opposition. According to MP Lefter Gështenja, the draft law takes the powers of the local government in the changes of the existing plans, strengthening the powers of the prime minister.

"Unification of the territory with the water is related to strategic investments so that the prime minister has an iron hand on the coast" - he said, among other things.

The Deputy Minister of Infrastructure and Energy, Enkelejda Muçaj, defended the proposals as an efficient solution to save time and human resources with the creation of the technical commissariat that will resolve every permit and document needed for applications to the Territorial Development Agency.

As for the union of water with the territory, she said that this was "rational", since the National Water Council is headed by the Prime Minister and has more or less the same members as the KKT.

"KKTU will have decision-making for the water space related to the requirements for development" - she said.

The National Council of the Territory is the decision-making body that drafts the territorial planning documents and decides on the granting of building permits or development permits throughout the country.

With a contested decision a few weeks ago, the Assembly gave this body the powers to decide on the development of touristic and infrastructural structures even within the territory of the Protected Areas./ BIRN

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