Options for better Dispute Resolution Mechanisms between the Business and Public Administration – Investment Council

March 2nd, 2016

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Investment Council (IC) held on March 2nd, 2016, a meeting chaired by the Minister of Economic Development, Tourism, Trade and Entrepreneurship, Ms. Milva Ekonomi. In the Meeting, discussions were held regarding the effectiveness of the means available to the business for dispute resolution with the public administration.

Disputes between public administration and the business have been considered as concerning, bearing a considerate cost for the parties and at the same time cause uncertainties and lack of trust for the economic development of the local and foreign companies. During meetings held with the businesses, it has been emphasized that: “budgetary institutions and their relevant staff often ignore or do not know the laws and rules pertaining to their operations and take decisions that are arbitrary and incompliant with effective laws.”

In the presentation of the Head of Secretariat, Ms. Diana Leka, it was highlighted that public institutions after reviewing the administrative appeals filed by the business, in only few cases give right to the business, obligating them to address the court in almost all the cases. On the other side, the Administrative Courts in the past two years have faced a high flood of administrative appeals from the business. About 75% of the total number of administrative appeals from the business[1] in administrative courts, relates to tax and customs administration, inspections and public procurement. Because of the high caseload and tighter deadlines for the review, the business has often put to question the quality of the administrative courts’ decisions. This situation in the administrative courts makes it necessary to find an approach for fast, effective and fast resolution of these disputes within the jurisdiction of the administration itself, as a must to improve the investment climate in the country.

Based on the Secretariat’s analysis, consulted in close collaboration with experts in the area, as well as with business associations and institutions themselves, the Investment Council discussed some requests and recommendations for the Albanian Government, with the objective to: facilitate the access of the business in exercising their administrative appeal right; improve the effectiveness of the administrative appeal structures; raise the transparency during the decision-making process.

In her speech, Minister Milva Ekonomi expressed her appreciation for the work done by the Investment Council in the past, and highlighted the need to improve the climate of doing business in the country as well as the need for further collaboration between the business and government. Referring to the discussions held in the previous IC Meetings, Minister Ekonomi stated that: “the recommendations of the Council have been taken into account by the administration and an action plan is being devised in the war against informality as well as to resolve situations where it becomes necessary a deregulation of the market.

Representatives from the business community, present in the meeting, supported the work of the Secretariat and the concrete recommendations provided, demanding as soon as possible their implementation from the Government. More concretely, Mr. Gazmend Kadriu, Vice Chair of Management Board of AAB and UNION Bank’s CEO, highlighted that “the administrative bodies should become aware that there is room for improvement regarding the relationship with the business; the administrative appeal is a beneficiary tool for both parties as it assists the administration to understand why things do not progress. Therefore, these organs should improve the quality of their work and aim institutional stability.” In addition, Chair of Tirana Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Nikolin Jaka recommended “the strengthening of the legal and institutional independence of the appeal structures and capacity building of these structures within every administrative body.” Furthermore, Mr. Jaka highlighted that the business should raise its own capacities to better acknowledge the administrative appeal procedures. While, representatives from international organizations in the Council highlighted the necessity to implement the recommendations of the Council by the Albanian Government, to prioritise them in order to enable fast resolution of the business concerns and the need for continuous monitoring by the Secretariat of the recommendations provided.

[1] Companies in accordance to the provisions of Law No. 9901, dated 14 April 2008 “On Entrepreneurs and Commercial Companies” (as amended).

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

Albanian Investment Council