Investment Council holds emergency meeting about pandemic impact on the business

April 14th, 2020

Tirana, 14 April 2020 – On Tuesday, the Investment Council (IC) held an extraordinary meeting via Zoom teleconferencing to discuss the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the business in Albania, with a focus on financial and economic measures taken by the government to cope with the consequences of the pandemic, observations on main business concerns, including as well potential measures to be taken in the near future. This emergency meeting was convened by the Minister of Finance and Economy, and it was attended by all IC members (state institutions, business members, and key development partners). Participated as observers for the first time high representatives from the agencies of UN, Sida, and others located in Albania.

In her speech, Minister Anila Denaj said that this extraordinary meeting intended timely dialogue among stakeholders through the format of the Investment Council, already established now as a permanent public-private dialogue platform for addressing imminent business concerns. Making reference to the findings of the survey conducted entirely online by the IC Secretariat prior to this meeting, the Minister said that businesses consider as positive the main measures taken by the government. She acknowledged the fact that more needs to be done and that the government is working hard in that direction. More specifically, the Minister highlighted that businesses with turnover above 14 million ALL had affirmed in the survey that the postponing of the loan repayment period was the best measure taken by the government, followed by the sovereign guarantee and postponing of the deadline for submitting the financial statements. Moreover, businesses with turnover less than 14 million ALL considered effective the support measures taken in favour of the small business, accompanied by the wage subsidy scheme.

Business representatives (Amcham, UCCIAL, FIAA, CCI Tirana, Confindustria Albania, Chamber of Diaspora Business, etc.) urged the government to take meaningful support measures in 4 pillars: unemployment, fiscal relieves at central and local government level (e.g. timely VAT reimbursement and alleviation of penalties by the tax administration), liquidity and subventions for the re-boost of specific sectors such as the agro-industry. For certain industries (e.g. facon industry), measures need to be taken for the companies to avoid employee lay-offs, including options for reshaping penalty requirements which should be mitigated during this period.

Representatives of development partners expressed their solidarity and support to overcome the situation, while they emphasized the importance of coordination in the allocation of support financial packages in line with the ongoing financial and risk-sharing programs.

In conclusion, in the occasion of the five-year anniversary of the IC (15 April 2015 – 15 April 2020), the Minister thanked the IC members for the invaluable contribution in particular for bringing to a higher level the public-private dialogue model in the country, but also fulfilling the mutual objectives of both parties being transposed into effective measures. The Minister expressed her wish for ongoing collaboration.

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Highlighting some of the IC achievements:

Check out our new video here: Albania Investment Council: Enabling effective dialogue through proactive stakeholder engagement.

Investment Council is supported by the Ministry of Finance and Economy, the EBRD and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO)