Investment Council holds Plenary Meeting to Discuss Business Suggestions on the Country’s Economic Recovery post-Covid-19
What could be in the focus of the future policy reforms to address recently emerged business concerns – liquidity, employment, fiscal burden, digitalization, attracting FDIs, etc.
Tirana, 5 June 2020 – On Friday, the Investment Council (IC) held a plenary meeting via Zoom teleconferencing to discuss key business suggestions for the economic recovery of the country post-COVID-19. The meeting was attended by all IC members (state institutions, business members, and key development partners), while other high representatives from business associations and donors community such as Swiss Embassy, Austrian Embassy, German Embassy, OSCE, USAID, GIZ, UN, etc., participated in the role of observers.
In her speech, Minister Anila Denaj gave an overview of the general macroeconomic situation in Albania, including recent developments in the international context. She highlighted direct factors affecting the Albanian economy, in particular, the economic decline of Albania’s main trade partners and the aftereffects of the strong earthquake which stroke Albania on 26 November 2019. In this context, the Minister informed that the government has revised the macro-fiscal framework which will eventually lead to a second budget revise with a forecasted decline in GDP from -2% to -5%. The Minister also informed about the upcoming MFE proposals to the government to address economic recovery in the near future, like the medium-term revenue strategy and economic development measures with a focus on SMEs, priority sectors, and employment. She informed that the Investment Council was asked to provide support in collecting proposals by the business operating in various economic sectors so that the Recovery Plan includes before its formal presentation, some of these proposals. This is in line with the ambitions and commitment of the Albanian Government to present within June 2020 the plan of economic recovery and more specifically, the recovery of priority sectors such as tourism and manufacturing.
Business representatives expressed their understanding of the crisis situation and supported the main recommendations highlighted in the concept note prepared by the Secretariat (with suggestions by the IC members). They encouraged the government to further consolidate the administrative governing of the financial support packages for the business. In regard to the emerging situation, they urged the government 1) to act promptly, (2) to develop efficient policies in the medium and long-term to promote sustainable employment, (3) to develop emergent measures to stimulate domestic consumption, (4) to improve electronic government services (with a focus on e-signature, authentication of e-certificates by the banking sector), (5) to develop more competitive policies on FDIs attraction, etc. It was highlighted that monetary and fiscal policy should go hand in hand. The recovery plan should include as many representatives from various sectors as possible to make appropriate and non-hasty interventions.
Representatives of the development partners advised systemic development of the economic recovery, by thinking strategically in the long-term as well as by keeping a focus on previously devised reforms such as the one for the formalization of the economy, without fragmenting the entire system with specific measures for some sectors.
In conclusion, Chair of the Investment Council, Minister Denaj highlighted three issues for follow up (1) submission of the IC recommendations to the national committee working on the recovery plan, (2) further discussion on issues that may need additional deliberations in regards to support packages, e.g. encouraging banks to make these packages as optimal as possible, (3) a meeting with stakeholders in the agricultural sector to discuss how value chains can be turned into a simple product to be absorbed by the businesses and financed by the banks.
Business representatives present in the meeting:
- Associations – Amcham, UCCIAL, FIAA, CCI Tirana, Confindustria Albania, DIHA, Chamber of Albanian Diaspora Business, KASH, Albanian Associations of Banks
- Companies – Vodafone Albania, Balfin Group, Sam Wear, OMEGA sh.p.k.