Investment Council Meeting – ‘On Investments and Legal Security on Property’

May 30th, 2019

Tirana, Thursday, 30 May 2019Albania Investment Council (IC) held a regular meeting “On Investments and Legal Security on Property” chaired by the Minister of Finance and Economy, Ms Anila Denaj. The Meeting was attended also by the State Minister for the Protection of Entrepreneurship, Mr Eduart Shalsi, and the General Director of State Agency of Cadastre, Mr Artan Lame.

Minister Denaj opened her speech thanking EBRD and SECO for supporting the IC platform and also the business associations for actively feeding the IC Secretariat with business concerns and suggestions.

As regards to the agenda topic, Minister Denaj mentioned that a coherent, non-fragmented approach for addressing property-related issues is considered crucial for the well-functioning of the market and it is a prerequisite for investment promotion. Any progress in this area increases legal security for investors, enhances transparency, good governance and the fight against corruption, reflected directly also in the international reports on the reforms in Albania. Minister Denaj, made reference to some progress in IPRO services, such as ‘Fast Track’ 24-hour service provided for citizens and businesses. However, the positive impact of such services is still limited due to the issues which affect the property registration system.

Afterwards, the floor was given to the Secretariat to present the key findings and recommendations of the analysis on property-related issues. The findings were grouped in four pillars: (1) legal, (2) institutional, (3) operational capacities, and (4) others (such as human resources, corruption and politics etc.). Some key findings: lack of a systematic initial registration of private and state property; inappropriate property maps and overlapping; incomplete electronic register on property and limited services; incoherence over years among transitory processes on property, timelines for completion of these processes and property registration; lack of legal security for investors and in the banking system due to unclear/inaccurate documents on property; informality in the real estate market also due to the non-registration of property units; unregistered agricultural land at a large extent and outside the formal market of immovable properties etc.

Some proposed recommendations to address the above findings were:

  • The vision of the government to be updated in a consolidated document by considering which recommended intervention is of highest priority from the private sector’s point of view and which is feasible from the Government’s point of view.”
  • Drafting of an Action Plan specifying the activities /deadlines/financial bill/responsibilities/monitoring indicators, systematic updating;
  • Property-related issues to be solved in coherence with the development of priority areas for investment promotion (Agriculture, Tourism), but respecting property rights.
  • Reform on Property to consider concrete measures that restrict corruption practices of public administration toward the business and vice versa.
  • Public consultation of the draft-law “On the Finalization of the Transitory Processes on Property,” while also considering the need for monitoring the specified deadlines.

Additionally, a special emphasis in the recommendations was given to the necessity for setting up a road map for registering state-owned properties as well as the specific role of municipalities in this process.

The Secretariat thanked all the business associations (FIAA, AmCham, Confindustria Albania, CCI France, Albanian Export Center) for their valuable contribution which was crucial in the drafting of the technical note and respective recommendations.

In his intervention, Head of the State Agency of Cadaster, Mr Artan Lame, affirmed the political will to finally solve the current complex situation on the property. Mr Lame acknowledged the findings brought by the Secretariat and expressed approval for the proposed recommendations especially as related to the recommendations for a detailed action plan on property registration, prioritization during the registration of state-owned properties and making them public via digital cadaster.

Representatives from the business community and from the developing partners in Albania highlighted the crucial importance of this subject and confirmed the findings and recommendations of this meeting to represent some of the many property-related issues investors are facing in Albania. Their comments were focused on the necessity for the timely response on the legalization and coherence with urban development plans, necessity to urgently register state properties, more flexibility on the prices of agricultural lands as relates to the reference prices for taxes, capacity building within municipalities to increase their role, corruption issues, etc. Additionally, the policy dimension was considered as very important, emphasizing that legal dynamics progress should be fast while inclusiveness and dialogue should be a core approach.

At the end of the meeting, Minister Denaj informed that the Ministry of Finance and Economy has recently shared for public consultation draft unified investment law, which aims at improving the business conditions, equally for foreign and local investors. In this framework, Minister Denaj invited all participants to contribute with valuable comments.

Full meeting materials will be published soon on the IC website. For more information, visit us again.

 

 

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