TIRANA, April 12
Commerce chambers’ members consistently rank the business environment as one of the top three challenges to doing business in Albania. This was pointed out in an unusual joint statement issued on Tuesday by the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham), the German Chamber of Commerce (DIHA), the Italian Chamber of Commerce, Confindustria Albania, and the French Chamber of Commerce. In the statement, the chambers jointly affirm their stance on the state of the business environment in Albania.
“We acknowledge the country’s potential for business and foreign investment due to its strategic location, natural resources, and talented workforce. However, our members consistently rank the business environment as one of the top three challenges to doing business in Albania, and we believe that the current environment is inefficient and requires significant improvement,’ the statement points out.
Further on, the statement highlights six main areas where comprehensive economic reforms are needed, and the chambers call upon the Albanian government, the parliament, and other public agencies to commit.
Adopt an Investment Strategy led by the highest levels of Government, which includes a reduction of bureaucratic obstacles, the adoption of a rule-based permit issuance system, and the establishment of an attractive incentive system based on investment amount and the creation of new jobs.
Implement an Anti-Corruption package that enforces anti-bribery compliance aligned with OECD standards and ensures transparency in the operations of public agencies. This would significantly raise the confidence of the business community in general and specifically in foreign companies’ significant investment in Albania.
Enhance the efficiency and credibility of the Public Procurement system by adopting Open Contracting Data Standards in procurement processes, removing ‘special exceptions’ from the procurement of public funds, and increasing access to procurement inquiries and data for journalists and civil society.
Establish an effective Public Consultation process by incorporating enforcement mechanisms into existing legislation and including Decisions of the Council of Ministers in the process. The process should ensure transparency and buy-in from citizens and interest groups.
Modernize the Tax System to reflect international accounting standards (IFRS), reduce unpredictability by introducing new tax laws not more frequently than every four years, and disincentivize the informal economy. This will create a more predictable and stable tax environment, attracting foreign and domestic investment.
We are encouraged by the possible activation of a new National Economic Council (NEC) and suggest having a special focus on foreign direct investments and being properly regulated by legislation as a formal institution through a joint public-private management mechanism. NEC can serve as a platform for dialogue and cooperation between the public and private sectors to promote economic development and create a more favorable investment climate.
The business chambers reaffirm their belief that the above-mentioned reforms would improve the business climate, attract more foreign investors, and facilitate Albania’s transition to the European Union (EU) and international markets.
Source/Image Credit: AmCham