Investment Council Puts Forward Recommendations for Facilitating the SMEs’ Transitioning To Alternative Energy Sources
Tirana, January 31st, 2023 / The Investment Council (IC) holds a plenary meeting to discuss the SMEs’ challenges to transition to alternative energy sources chaired by the Minister of Finance and Economy, Ms Delina Ibrahimaj, with the special participation of the EBRD’s Managing Director for Policy Strategy and Delivery, Mr Christoph Denk. The meeting was attended by the majority of IC members and around 40 observers representing the public and private sector and development agencies.
During her speech, Minister Ibrahimaj said that despite the global crisis, our country has shown resilience and flexibility, with the government taking adequate measures to accommodate new challenges. Green transitioning and investments in renewable energy at all business levels are common challenges and objectives, and stronger collaboration should be built for mutual initiatives in this direction. Albania is a country that produces electricity from renewable sources, and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy has taken several measures to diversify the supply of electricity. Taking into consideration that Albanian companies rely mainly on electricity, Minister Ibrahimaj said that the government has subsidized and will continue to subsidize the price of electricity for the majority of businesses. Finally, Minister Ibrahimaj emphasized the need for improving communication and strengthening cooperation with chambers of commerce and business associations.
IC Secretariat delivered a brief presentation with key findings and proposals to stimulate the dialogue on the SMEs’ challenges for investing in alternative energy sources, with a focus on a) the quality of energy supply and factors influencing decision-making on alternative investment and b) awareness about access to finance. The Secretariat’s rationale was elaborated based on information collected from pertinent desk research, focus group meetings in Tirana and regions with 47 participants, direct meetings with 15 partners, and a questionnaire with 75 companies. The study highlights the need for prioritizing interventions to address the entrepreneurs’ uncertainties within the dynamics of the energy market and the Green Agenda.
During the open discussion session, the business representatives (Woman Economic Chamber, FIAA/Voltalia, Amcham, Chamber of Commerce of Tirana, Confindustria Albania, FIX Pro, Lufra) expressed their concerns about the current energy challenges and put forward several suggestions, such as the need for:
- The establishment of working groups between public institutions and chambers of commerce to stimulate awareness and knowledge among the private sector,
- Faster decision-making from public/financing institutions to facilitate the time business need for accessing finance,
- Incentives for the companies which invest in new technology to reduce energy consumption,
- Improved collaboration with the cadastre office to resolve critical issues with land titles and expropriation,
- Regulatory framework for the battery-based storage of energy,
- VAT exemption for imported photovoltaic equipment,
- Clear incentives at the EU standards for improving the distribution network.
The participants acknowledged the support given to date by the government in terms of mitigating the price of the energy while committed to be more proactive on the provision of comments on the draft laws published in the public consultation platform.
Full materials of this meeting will be published in the next few weeks in our dedicated section https://ww.investment.com.al/ic-meetings/.