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The government is looking for investors for the weapons plant in Poliçan

The government is looking for investors for the weapons plant in Poliçan

The government approved on Wednesday a draft law for the settlement of arrears of financial obligations for salaries and insurances of former employees of Kombinat Mekanik Poliçan, a state-owned enterprise established in 1962 in order to fulfill the requirements of the Albanian Armed Forces for armaments.

In addition to accepting these obligations, which reach the figure of 83.8 million lek, the government declares that it is preparing to return this combine to work for the production of military ammunition by seeking foreign investors.

The draft law provides for the payment of obligations for salaries, social and health insurance of employees and former employees for the years 2017-2023 from the budget funds of the Ministry of Defense.

The number of persons affected by this draft law is 131, of which four are current employees and another 127 have been dismissed.

The decision was passed in the government meeting 24 hours before the Minister of Defense, Niko Peleshi, faced a parliamentary interpellation called by his socialist colleague, Nasip Naço, precisely on this issue.

Speaking to the Assembly on Thursday, Peleshi said the government is planning to reinstate the former military industry to usher in a new era of military ammunition production.

"The revitalization of the military industry is a strategic goal," said Peleshi, adding that, "we are entering a new era, which is not militarization, but to contribute to the increase of production capacities within the NATO alliance."

Peleshi announced that the NATO procurement agency has conducted a pre-feasibility report for Police to understand, according to him, "what is the value of our assets and global requirements".

Also, he admitted that there were potential investors interested from several countries such as Turkey, Italy, Israel, etc., and that the government was planning to become a partner in these investments.

Albania's interest in returning to arms production was articulated publicly during the visit of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenski in February, who asked Albania and other Balkan countries to cooperate in munitions production as a support for Ukraine in the military conflict with Russia.

According to the official information on the website of the Ministry of Defense, the Police Mechanical Plant, until the 90s, had production lines of various ammunition, such as Kalashnikov ammunition, 82 mm mortars, hand grenades and anti-aircraft mines. tanks and mortars of the highest caliber.

Currently, the company only produces "Makarov" and "Parabellum" type pistol ammunition with 19mm caliber, but according to the ministry, it also has the capacity for iron and steel foundry products./ BIRN

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