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Investment Council Initiates Consultation of the Economic Reform Programme (ERP), 2024-2026

Tirana, 15 December 2023 / The Investment Council (IC), under the chairmanship of the Minister of Finance and Economy, Mr Ervin Mete, convened its 4th meeting for the year 2023. This meeting marked the launching of the consultation process for the draft of the Economic Reforms Programme (ERP) for Albania, 2024-2026, which outlines the structural reforms for economic development and the associated measures. Attended by all IC members and around thirty observers representing both public and private sectors, as well as development agencies, the meeting confirmed the high interest of IC stakeholders and the relevance of the consultation process.

In his speech, Minister Ervin Mete underscored the significance moment of preparing the draft ERP, citing the recent publication by the European Commission of the Growth Plan for Western Balkan countries. This plan earmarks 6 billion euros in funds for the next three years, with Albania positioned to benefit approximately 1 billion euros, contingent on the progress of reforms. The Minister emphasized the necessity of broad involvement from the business community to provide a strong foundation for achieving the program’s objectives. He also disclosed plans to enhance the representation of the business community within the Investment Council, framing it as a key forum for Government-Business dialogue and collaboration.

Deputy Minister of Finance and Economy, Mr Endrit Yzeiraj, presented a brief overview of the current draft ERP. The report encompasses four main chapters: Implementation of Policy Guidance, Macroeconomic Framework, Fiscal Framework, and Priorities for Structural Reforms. Notable changes involve the incorporation of three thematic clusters (Human Capital and Social Policies, Sustainability and Resilience, and Competitiveness), a decrease in the count of structural reforms from 15-20 to 6, and an enhanced emphasis on engaging in dialogue with international partners, notably, International Finance Institutions (IFIs), to complement reform implementation.

During the open discussion session, various business representatives, including AmCham, Union of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Albanian Diaspora Business Chamber, Association of Banks, Confindustria Albania, Albanian Agribusiness Council, Chamber of Commerce of Tirana, praised the importance of timely consultation of the draft ERP while highlighting major impediments that, if addressed, could enhance the program’s effectiveness and business competitiveness. Key issues discussed encompassed informality, revenue management strategy, fiscalization platform, tax inspections, VAT, fiscal sustainability, business inclusion, human capital, education, property reform, diaspora involvement, digitalization of the private sector, and social policies for vulnerable groups and areas. Relevant inputs were also provided by IC development partners such as the EU, WB, IFC, and EBRD.

The active engagement between the public and private sectors during the meeting signified a starting point in the consultation of the Economic Reform Programme with business representatives. The anticipated timeline includes the submission of the final ERP draft to the European Commission by January 15, 2024. Business representatives are invited to contribute to this process by submitting their concerns and insights by December 26, 2023, to the following email address: [email protected].

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Full materials for this meeting will be published in the next few weeks in our dedicated section https://ww.investment.com.al/ic-meetings/.