Albania Investment Council, 15 April 2015 – 15 April 2018
It has been three years since the establishment of Albania Investment Council by the Albanian Authorities with support from the EBRD. The main objective of the IC was to intensify the dialogue between the government and the private sector, improve the business climate and promote good governance. In his speech at the launching of the Investment Council, Prime Minister Mr Edi Rama said that “The Investment Council will serve as a bridge between the business community and the government and will become a catalyst, helping to create the right business environment for investments.”
Upon completion of its first three years of operation, the Albania Investment Council has tackled several areas which bear considerate impediments to the business. Main work of the IC has consisted in advocating for a systemic reform against informality, better prior public consultation of governmental acts, increased inclusiveness and transparency of information including incentives to investment, transparency on VAT refund procedures, improved communication of tax administration, better matching skills of the working force with the business sector needs, improvement of the electronic platform for permits in the construction sector, etc. Although there have been some improvements over the three years, these remain persistent impediments to the development of the private sector and competitiveness of the Albanian economy. On the other hand, the IC debate had some influence on the national dialogue and business climate reforming process.
The need for more transparency to the business, as per IC recommendations, has been endorsed by several governmental agencies with some concrete measures such as i) a new user-friendly website by the General Tax Directorate with updated information, ii) new helpdesks to provide clear and updated information to taxpayers, especially micro, small and medium-sized companies, on tax compliance or registration of new businesses, iii) Agropikas newly established information centres by the Ministry of Agriculture to provide farmers with all the information on supporting and financing schemes.
As a channel for the bottom-up identification of business concerns, direct consultations were conducted by the Secretariat with over 188 companies and associations, over 90 public institutions, 20 donors and embassies, etc. Meanwhile, 7 surveys have been conducted with the participation of 483 companies, showing an increased trust on the IC work and a higher awareness on the capacities of the IC to address the business concerns on the interest of sustainable economic development of the country.
The work of the Investment Council would not have been successful without the support of the Government of Albania and its donors (EBRD, Government of Italy and CEI), and the continued collaboration with its partners – local and foreign companies, business associations and donors’ community.
Picture: First Working Group Meeting of Albania Investment Council, 15 April 2015.