Albania, Kosovo and N. Macedonia seek permanent removal of barriers

Albania, Kosovo and N. Macedonia seek permanent removal of barriers

TIRANA, Sept. 21 – Albania, Kosovo and North Macedonia are seeking the permanent removal of the barriers between them said the representatives of the states’ Chambers, who met in Skopje under a regional initiative whose main goal is the increase

Read Full Article
Tirana displays the highest business taxes

Tirana displays the highest business taxes

TIRANA, Sept. 3-  Businesses in Tirana operate in a difficult environment, as the capital city ranks among the four regional cities that apply high fiscal burden on businesses. According to a World Bank study on urbanization in the Western Balkans,

Read Full Article
Albania, poor investment promotions

Albania, poor investment promotions

TIRANA, Sept. 5- Albania performed weaker in promoting the country to foreign investors compared to the rest of the regional countries and also has the most vague strategies in this regard. The ratings were given during a World Bank survey

Read Full Article
Vehicle inspection concession contract extended

Vehicle inspection concession contract extended

TIRANA, Sept. 4- After months of silence, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy (MIE) acknowledged on Wednesday that it has decided to extend the term of the controversial concessionary compulsory vehicle control concession contract, a concession that costs Albanians millions

Read Full Article
EC claims Albania’s taxation as “gray”

EC claims Albania’s taxation as “gray”

TIRANA, Sept. 2- Albania and some Western Balkan countries were included in the gray list along with 36 other countries for the risk of tax fraud and evasion.  The European Commission is working to improve good tax governance globally in

Read Full Article
INSTAT says debt per capita has increased

INSTAT says debt per capita has increased

TIRANA, Sept. 3- Albanian debt per capita reached about 3150 euros in the middle of this year. According to data from the Ministry of Finance and the Albanian Institute of Statistics (INSTAT), the debt per capita calculated in European currency

Read Full Article
The Fondi Besa scandal

The Fondi Besa scandal

TIRANA, Sept. 4- The investigation code-named “Credit” led to the arrest end of seven employees of the non-banking monetary foundation, Fondi Besa (Besa Fund) by the end of August, who had come up with a tearing fraud scheme, earning an

Read Full Article
WB: Albania needs more commitment towards lowering public debt

WB: Albania needs more commitment towards lowering public debt

TIRANA, Sept. 2- Albania and Montenegro need more commitment to enforce the fiscal rules they set, which aim at reducing debt or keeping the deficit under control. In many cases the rules that countries impose are deviated while a lack

Read Full Article
The 2020 Fiscal Package

The 2020 Fiscal Package

TIRANA, Sept. 2- World Bank and International Monetary Fund reports have claimed that Albania’s economic system is 50 percent informal. VAT collection resulted lower than planned for the first quarter of the year, which made the Prime Minister to dismiss

Read Full Article
Albanian businesses are not innovative

Albanian businesses are not innovative

TIRANA, July 18- According to a Balkan Business Survey report for 2018, direct advertising and communication with customers through modern channels – Facebook, YouTube or InstaGram is becoming increasingly important, while more traditional means of communication and marketing via email

Read Full Article
WP_Query Object
(
    [query_vars] => Array
        (
            [cat] => 5
            [error] => 
            [m] => 
            [p] => 0
            [post_parent] => 
            [subpost] => 
            [subpost_id] => 
            [attachment] => 
            [attachment_id] => 0
            [name] => 
            [static] => 
            [pagename] => 
            [page_id] => 0
            [second] => 
            [minute] => 
            [hour] => 
            [day] => 0
            [monthnum] => 0
            [year] => 0
            [w] => 0
            [category_name] => economy
            [tag] => 
            [tag_id] => 
            [author] => 
            [author_name] => 
            [feed] => 
            [tb] => 
            [paged] => 0
            [comments_popup] => 
            [meta_key] => 
            [meta_value] => 
            [preview] => 
            [s] => 
            [sentence] => 
            [fields] => 
            [menu_order] => 
            [category__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [category__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [category__and] => Array
                (
                )

            [post__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [post__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag__and] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag_slug__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag_slug__and] => Array
                (
                )

            [post_parent__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [post_parent__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [author__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [author__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [ignore_sticky_posts] => 
            [suppress_filters] => 
            [cache_results] => 1
            [update_post_term_cache] => 1
            [update_post_meta_cache] => 1
            [post_type] => 
            [posts_per_page] => 10
            [nopaging] => 
            [comments_per_page] => 50
            [no_found_rows] => 
            [order] => DESC
        )

    [tax_query] => WP_Tax_Query Object
        (
            [queries] => Array
                (
                    [0] => Array
                        (
                            [taxonomy] => category
                            [terms] => Array
                                (
                                    [0] => 5
                                )

                            [include_children] => 1
                            [field] => term_id
                            [operator] => IN
                        )

                )

            [relation] => AND
        )

    [meta_query] => WP_Meta_Query Object
        (
            [queries] => Array
                (
                )

            [relation] => 
        )

    [date_query] => 
    [post_count] => 10
    [current_post] => -1
    [in_the_loop] => 
    [comment_count] => 0
    [current_comment] => -1
    [found_posts] => 7874
    [max_num_pages] => 788
    [max_num_comment_pages] => 0
    [is_single] => 
    [is_preview] => 
    [is_page] => 
    [is_archive] => 1
    [is_date] => 
    [is_year] => 
    [is_month] => 
    [is_day] => 
    [is_time] => 
    [is_author] => 
    [is_category] => 1
    [is_tag] => 
    [is_tax] => 
    [is_search] => 
    [is_feed] => 
    [is_comment_feed] => 
    [is_trackback] => 
    [is_home] => 
    [is_404] => 
    [is_comments_popup] => 
    [is_paged] => 
    [is_admin] => 
    [is_attachment] => 
    [is_singular] => 
    [is_robots] => 
    [is_posts_page] => 
    [is_post_type_archive] => 
    [query_vars_hash:WP_Query:private] => eff060c81bc044575cedabdecd5f8713
    [query_vars_changed:WP_Query:private] => 
    [thumbnails_cached] => 1
    [stopwords:WP_Query:private] => 
    [query] => Array
        (
            [cat] => 5
        )

    [request] => SELECT SQL_CALC_FOUND_ROWS  wp_posts.ID FROM wp_posts  INNER JOIN wp_term_relationships ON (wp_posts.ID = wp_term_relationships.object_id) WHERE 1=1  AND ( wp_term_relationships.term_taxonomy_id IN (5) ) AND wp_posts.post_type = 'post' AND (wp_posts.post_status = 'publish') GROUP BY wp_posts.ID ORDER BY wp_posts.post_date DESC LIMIT 0, 10
    [posts] => Array
        (
            [0] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 143111
                    [post_author] => 281
                    [post_date] => 2019-09-22 11:49:42
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2019-09-22 09:49:42
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Sept. 21 – Albania, Kosovo and North Macedonia are seeking the permanent removal of the barriers between them said the representatives of the states’ Chambers, who met in Skopje under a regional initiative whose main goal is the increase of regional cooperation among the three state’s businesses.

The goal of this first-time ‘Regional B2B Event,’ which took place in North Macedonia’s Skopje, was to enable the direct meeting between the regional businesses of Albania, North Macedonia and Kosovo in order to expand the markets in the regional level and beyond.

The networking event was hosted by the Economic Chamber of North-West Macedonia (ECNWM), Chamber of Doing Business in Kosovo and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Tirana, while its participants constituted the North Macedonia’s highest representatives, such as Head of Parliament Talat Xhaferi, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, Minister of Economy Kreshnik Bekteshi as well as representative of the office of USAID in North Macedonia Eric Janoesky.

The Chairman of ECNWM Nebi Hoxha said the increase of competitiveness and longevity of a company mainly depends on the networking the company has created and that through its established network the ECNWM has the perfect preconditions to lead the regionalization of North Macedonia’s enterprises.

“In this line, the focus must be to create the possibilities for the broadening of companies’ markets in the regional level.” Hoxha emphasized.

Meanwhile Nikolin Jaka, Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Tirana, said that despite the increase of commercial exchange between Albania and Kosovo, the optimal level has not been reached yet and many bureaucratic barriers still exist.

He added it is necessary “for all sides of the triangle to work” and that this specific case gravely lacks both road and railway infrastructure from N. Macedonia to Albania and Kosovo alike, around which revolves the problem of the movement of goods and people.

In addition to the B2B meetings between the businesses, the event was also characterized by the Economic Forum, which held the ‘Facilitation of commerce through the institutional cooperation between North Macedonia, Kosovo and Albania’ forum and ‘Opportunities of cooperation, investments and common access to regional markets and beyond’ forum, part of which were also the three states’ heads of customs.

Further on, the aims of this project are to improve the services offered by ECNWM towards businesses, access of companies to financial resources and increase of investments from leading companies to enhance the supply chain and development of labor.

 
                    [post_title] => Albania, Kosovo and N. Macedonia seek permanent removal of barriers
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => albania-kosovo-and-n-macedonia-seek-permanent-removal-of-barriers
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2019-09-22 11:49:42
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-09-22 09:49:42
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=143111
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [1] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 143024
                    [post_author] => 281
                    [post_date] => 2019-09-10 08:37:57
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2019-09-10 06:37:57
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Sept. 3-  Businesses in Tirana operate in a difficult environment, as the capital city ranks among the four regional cities that apply high fiscal burden on businesses. According to a World Bank study on urbanization in the Western Balkans, the number of taxes is extremely high in Tirana. The report said that Belgrade, Sarajevo, Tirana and Zagreb apply more than 30 taxes on business, while the regional average including other major cities is 9 and the ECA (Eastern Europe and Central Asia) region average is 16.

The study recommends that capital cities should be reoriented to reduce taxes and focus on their administration. It is suggested that municipalities in these cities, including Tirana, set up auditing and inspection systems if they are all paying their taxes and thereby expanding the taxpayer base and reducing the fiscal burden.

Reforming the business environment is probably the most difficult task these municipalities have. The study further says that Belgrade is the only capital city in the region that has an economic model of sustainable development. Whereas Tirana has a development model based on the fasone industry which has not been progressing for the last 20 years, remaining last in the value added chain. The bank also notes that Tirana did not have an accessible approach to technology and information.

To accelerate growth and job creation, the Western Balkans and Croatia need faster economic growth generated by advanced industries and services that focus on cities. Increasing the competitiveness of capital cities will be the promoter of employment growth in the Region.

EU accession, technological change and globalization are likely to create development opportunities that favor cities and their economies. The study added however, that if these trends are left unchecked, the could produce increasing inequality.

Association for Traders and Albanian Market Protection, Nikollaq Neranxi, has outcalled the Tirana Municipality for these high taxes. In a post he recalled all the censored protests the Association and civil society have organised against these taxes four years ago. They also took that tax package (four years ago) to the Constitutional Court for its overthrow, but the Court, already overturned by vetoing, dismissed our Association's lawsuit.

“Today, the Municipality of Tirana prides itself on collecting only 100 million euros of business and citizen taxes annually. And you haven't seen anything yet, as only the family property tax will quadruple in a year,” Neranxi warned.

Neranxi added that despite the high tax collection, the city lacks necessary investments, like some people still don’t have a regular water supply.The imposition of 30 taxes on business, and the addition of fees and taxes to ordinary citizens, has been a severe blow to the business-people who work and live in Tirana, Neranxi said.

 
                    [post_title] => Tirana displays the highest business taxes
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => tirana-displays-the-highest-business-taxes
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2019-09-10 08:37:57
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-09-10 06:37:57
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=143024
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [2] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 143036
                    [post_author] => 281
                    [post_date] => 2019-09-06 08:53:20
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2019-09-06 06:53:20
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Sept. 5- Albania performed weaker in promoting the country to foreign investors compared to the rest of the regional countries and also has the most vague strategies in this regard. The ratings were given during a World Bank survey last year across all countries in the region to assess the investment climate and opportunities for future improvements.

Companies operating in Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo provided poor ratings of government performance in terms of attracting and promoting investments. Unclear national investment strategies and in some cases unpredictability in tax and incentive policies were some key problems found in Albania but also in the region.

53 percent of investors in Albania think that corporate tax incentives are very poor. In other countries of the Region (Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro) this percentage was much lower. Foreign companies also had the highest negative rating for Albania regarding public services to investors, etc. Montenegro on the other hand, was the best ranked country.

Foreign companies in the region identified three important factors in investment decision making, the National Foreign Investment Strategy; the predictability of tax policies; and the availability of incentives for customs duties or import VAT. About 60 percent of companies in Albania and Montenegro have expressed high concern about the lack of predictability of fiscal policies relative to other countries.

 
                    [post_title] => Albania, poor investment promotions
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => albania-poor-investment-promotions
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2019-09-10 08:55:00
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-09-10 06:55:00
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=143036
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [3] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 143033
                    [post_author] => 281
                    [post_date] => 2019-09-06 08:47:22
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2019-09-06 06:47:22
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Sept. 4- After months of silence, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy (MIE) acknowledged on Wednesday that it has decided to extend the term of the controversial concessionary compulsory vehicle control concession contract, a concession that costs Albanians millions euros per year.

Extending the contract is expected to cost Albanian taxpayers several million euros of missing profits for the period from September 2019 to December 2020, profits that would have gone to the state budget if the government received concession assets after, such as is foreseen in the initial contract.

“Based on the legislation in force, the provisions of the Basic Concession Contract and the requirement of the SGS Automotive Albania company, MIE representatives have held several negotiation meetings with the concession company representatives regarding the extension of the contract,” said a press release published in some media (but not published on the official website of the ministry).

According to the report, the contract has been postponed until 2020 and the ministry does not provide an explanation as to why the contract was postponed and not the return of the concession under public ownership. The announcement comes a day after the initial ten-year contract signed by the previous center-right government expired. The extension of this contract highlights the willingness of the government to negotiate concessionary contracts privately and without any public transparency, which burden the citizens' pockets.

The concession of vehicle technical control was granted in 2009 for a ten-year term. The concession agreement provides for the company's obligation to invest 561 million lek (approximately 4.3 million euros). In exchange for this investment, the Albanian government had the right to collect the annual vehicle technical inspection fee, which until then was part of the state budget revenue.

Company balance sheet data from BIRN show that the company generated total revenue of 6.3 billion lek over the nine-year period from 2009 to 2018, operating profit of 1.3 billion lek and net after-tax profits of 842 million lek.

The parent company's total benefits from the concession may be higher than that. For example, the company appears to have opted to invest 561 million lek which had a contractual obligation in part by borrowing from the parent company and in part through a capital injection of 190 million lek (approximately 1.3 million euros) in 2011 with financing from the parent company. Over the years, SGS Automotive Albania paid interest on the loan it received from its parent company.

During 2018, the concession company SGS Albania had a net profit of 192 million lek and a 100 percent return on the company's share capital, which was 190 million lek. The SGS is one of many controversial concessions signed by the former government of the Democratic Party and that of the current government of Prime Minister Edi Rama, concessions that have created most monopolies costing hundreds of millions of euros a year in one of the poorest countries in Europe. 

 
                    [post_title] => Vehicle inspection concession contract extended
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => vehicle-inspection-concession-contract-extended
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2019-09-10 08:48:36
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-09-10 06:48:36
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=143033
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [4] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 143030
                    [post_author] => 281
                    [post_date] => 2019-09-04 08:44:41
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2019-09-04 06:44:41
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Sept. 2- Albania and some Western Balkan countries were included in the gray list along with 36 other countries for the risk of tax fraud and evasion. 

The European Commission is working to improve good tax governance globally in order to maximize fair taxation efforts. To this aim, the Council decided to publish  in December 2017 a list of states that were not cooperative in this initiative. The list updates from time to time and according to the latest data in June this year, 36 countries including Albania are on the gray list. 

The blacklist which consists of 11 countries, contains countries that are not cooperative and do not apply fair taxation rules, while the gray list includes countries that have problems with fair taxation, have agreed to cooperate but have failed. If Albania fails to consider the recommendations, it risks being blacklisted in the following year.

The EC announced that Member States have agreed to a number of measures against listed countries, which include in-depth monitoring and controls. The Commission will also continue to support the work of Member States to develop a more coordinated approach to sanctions for the 2019 list, which includes Albania. One of the measures is to ban funding from EU agencies in these countries.

The commission says it will continue to monitor Albania closely, as well as other countries on the gray list. Fair Tax Competition means that countries should not have harmful tax regimes, which go against the principles of the EU Code of Conduct or the OECD Forum on Bad Tax Practices.

 
                    [post_title] => EC claims Albania’s taxation as “gray”
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => ec-claims-albanias-taxation-as-gray
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2019-09-10 08:46:37
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-09-10 06:46:37
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=143030
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [5] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 143027
                    [post_author] => 281
                    [post_date] => 2019-09-04 08:38:36
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2019-09-04 06:38:36
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Sept. 3- Albanian debt per capita reached about 3150 euros in the middle of this year. According to data from the Ministry of Finance and the Albanian Institute of Statistics (INSTAT), the debt per capita calculated in European currency increased by 6 percent within a year.

In lek, the growth is significantly lower, by about 3 percent, due to the appreciation of the lek in the exchange rate with the euro. Although in real terms the public debt is on a downward trajectory, nominal per capita debt has continued to rise. This has happened in parallel with the increase in debt stock, but also with the decline in population.

According to INSTAT, during 2018 the population of Albania decreased by about 8 thousand inhabitants. The population contraction has been due to the expansion of net migration, but also due to the reduction of natural surplus. On June 30, Albania's public debt was about 1.1 trillion lek or about 9 billion euros. In real terms, the Ministry of Finance estimates Albania's public debt as 63 percent of GDP, down nearly two percentage points from a year earlier.

However, this is a figure destined to grow further during the year, with the expected expansion of the debt stock. Usually, most of the deficit is spent in the second half of the year and especially in the last quarter. This is further reflected in the performance of debt indicators. Based on the 2019 budget projections, public debt is expected to be around 64.9 percent at year-end.

 
                    [post_title] => INSTAT says debt per capita has increased 
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => instat-says-debt-per-capita-has-increased
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2019-09-10 08:44:04
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-09-10 06:44:04
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=143027
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [6] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 143018
                    [post_author] => 281
                    [post_date] => 2019-09-04 08:29:52
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2019-09-04 06:29:52
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Sept. 4- The investigation code-named “Credit” led to the arrest end of seven employees of the non-banking monetary foundation, Fondi Besa (Besa Fund) by the end of August, who had come up with a tearing fraud scheme, earning an amount of 3.7 million euros.

The report in Procurement was made by the foundation's directors to the employees. After the investigation of the Tirana police it was discovered that the whole scheme was favored and organized by the director of one of the affiliates of the Fondi Besa, Albana Imami. She was arrested along with four other employees with whom she cooperated in providing fictitious loans.

The scheme developed within the Fondi Besa concerned fictitious loan applications, with applicants being persons unaware of the application being made. Taking advantage of the applicants' low level of financial literacy and illiteracy, under the pretext of “awarding,” these applicants have filed with commercial banks to sign up for the loan funds required by the Besa Fund, application made in fact by Imami and her associates. After the disbursement of the loan fund, which was typically in line with the branch's approval limits amounting to 700 thousand lek, with an 84-month maturity. The applicants received a certain amount of credit (about 25 percent according to Imami's testimony in the Prosecutor's Office), while the rest of the money benefited the Imami.

The Bank of Albania reacted to the fraud committed by the Besa Fund by explaining that it is “closely following the whole process and, depending on the conclusions of the inspection, as well as investigations by law enforcement agencies, will take all measures necessary in accordance with the laws and regulations in force.”

As a supervisory authority that tracks all entities licensed by it, in accordance with their risk profile and impact on the country's financial stability, even with regard to the Fondi Besa, the Bank of Albania says that it has carried out continuous supervision, in accordance with and within the legal framework available to the Bank of Albania and has made concrete recommendations regarding the exercise of lending activity and in order to prevent operational risks.

But the Bank of Albania does not clarify whether any problems related to Fondi Besa have emerged during the supervision. However, the Bank of Albania considers that this act of fraud does not affect the stability of the banking system in Albania. The Bank of Albania draws attention to the response that non-bank financial entities are financial institutions that exercise financial activities as defined by the legal and regulatory framework, such as lending, microcredit, factoring, financial leasing, monetary payment and transfer services, electronic money issuance, foreign exchange, etc.

Unlike commercial banks, BoA says, non-bank financial institutions do not accept deposits from individuals and provide funding from shareholders' own resources. Under these conditions, these entities are many times smaller in size than commercial banks and as such, are considered relatively low risk.

Fondi Besa is a non-bank financial entity licensed by the Bank of Albania under license no.10 dated on Dec. 26, 2008. The total assets of the Fund as of March 2019 are about 14.7 billion lek, or 1 percent of banking system assets. The number of active borrowers of the subject is about 33 thousand people.

 
                    [post_title] => The Fondi Besa scandal
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => the-fondi-besa-scandal
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2019-09-10 08:33:27
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-09-10 06:33:27
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=143018
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [7] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 143021
                    [post_author] => 281
                    [post_date] => 2019-09-03 08:35:00
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2019-09-03 06:35:00
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Sept. 2- Albania and Montenegro need more commitment to enforce the fiscal rules they set, which aim at reducing debt or keeping the deficit under control.

In many cases the rules that countries impose are deviated while a lack of general public information reduces the political pressure to implement them.  A document by the World Bank's Macroeconomic and Global Investment and Trade Practices Department addresses in particular the fiscal rules in the Western Balkan countries.

Thus, this document states that the countries of the Western Balkans are different in many respects, so each one according to the report must apply different rules to achieve the same goal.  Albania and Serbia have the highest public debt. Albania has as objective to reduce public debt to 45 percent of GDP. This objective is complemented by other rules such as the deficit level that in the event of a 5 percent economic growth, it should not exceed 2 percent of GDP, as well as another rule on current expenditure or the 0.7 percent funded by contingencies. Another spending rule states that the deficit for the first quarter of the year cannot exceed 30 percent of the deficit planned for the whole year.

“Albania's debt target is prudent but the debt rule does not provide any particular pace to reach this target.  Making good progress will need to be more than just implementing the rule over the years. On the other hand, the rule can be very demanding during recessions that are not severe enough to circumvent the clauses,” the document wrote.

The report also stated that analyses show that in some countries minimum compliance with the deficit rule will not reduce debt to levels that are considered prudent. Albania will need to have a surplus of 0.8 percent of GDP each year to reach its 45 percent debt target by 2025 which is much more than required by the deficit rule.

The same underlines in the main summary that policies towards fiscal rules are an important issue in the Western Balkan countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, Northern Macedonia and Serbia). According to a rough estimate countries with rules (all except northern Macedonia) have met the part about the public debt rule and generally about the deficit in just over half the time. The report stated that an online survey conducted as part of this study suggests that public understanding of these rules is limited which may reduce political pressure for compliance. “To reduce debt to a prudent level, Albania and Montenegro will need strong commitment to meet their fiscal rules and will often need to do more than require their deficit rules, perhaps more commitment than has been demonstrated in recent years,” the report said.

 
                    [post_title] => WB: Albania needs more commitment towards lowering public debt
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => wb-albania-needs-more-commitment-towards-lowering-public-debt
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2019-09-10 08:36:07
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-09-10 06:36:07
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=143021
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [8] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 143015
                    [post_author] => 281
                    [post_date] => 2019-09-02 08:20:44
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2019-09-02 06:20:44
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Sept. 2- World Bank and International Monetary Fund reports have claimed that Albania’s economic system is 50 percent informal. VAT collection resulted lower than planned for the first quarter of the year, which made the Prime Minister to dismiss the director of the General Tax Directorate Enton Duro only three months after his appointment, and appointed  Delina Ibrahimaj instead. Following, the Ministry of Finance and Economy undertook an anti-informality action plan. Thousands of businesses were checked for law compliance, in about 40 percent were found irregularities, and tens were closed.

In order to tackle the issue better, the Ministry of Finance has proposed a new Fiscal Package bill. The draft law is being revised with interest groups and will pass on the Parliament for approval after Sept. 15. The package foresees that each service invoice from businesses to clients will be electronic, in order to lower fiscal evasion, and by 2021, business-to-business electronic invoices will be fully implemented.

In August 2018, the National Intelligence Agency opened a tender for a system where the direct beneficiary would be the General Directorate of Taxation. At that time, this system to be set up was known as the Invoice Management and Control System. A few months later, this tender was won by Croatian company NEOS. The limited fund for setting up the system was then estimated at 15 million euros, but it was not clear at the time what this project and system was.

At the end of July this year, the government announced what is being touted as fiscal reform. It is the same system already set up by NEOS in Croatia, and it is expected to become operational in January 2020 for the first phase related to cash transactions between consumer and business. And as the system is ready, what needs to be approved to make it operational is the legal part. Currently, the Ministry of Finance and Economy has begun discussions of the draft “On the bill and the circulation monitoring system”, to get the opinions of stakeholders, where a number of questions have arisen regarding how this draft law was conceived.

Various stakeholder groups have put forward various questions in an attempt to make corrections or clarifications to the draft that, after consultation and possible reflection of the changes, is expected to be adopted in October. The first to set up consultations were accountants, followed by representatives of the Information Technology Associations.

“I see the draft as positive, as the more technology we have, the less it has to deal with corruption, the less there is interference in the profession by informality,” accountant Artan Alia said. He is optimistic that it will reduce waiting time for financial reports and that the accountant will become digital. However, he stated in an interview with the economy magazine Monitor that some definitions regarding service-based businesses, such as transportation businesses, are unclear how they will operate. Another major issue is the debit and credit card payment system. Albania is still behind in that perspective and it is yet unclear how it will be well implemented, along with the cheque system. The bill aims to limit cash money usage. Alia raises the question of how effectively will all businesses declare their daily turnovers in their banking accounts. 

Since announcing the project, the government would point out that fiscalization will have some criteria that businesses need to meet to make the reporting system operational. The key platform is already ready, while it is up to the business to register, and the first condition is that of a digital firm approved by the National Information Society Agency, which has a cost of 4000 lek per year and then the completion, according to as needed, of hardware and software. Only businesses with less than 2 million lek yearly turnover will be excluded from this expense.

At an early stage, the Ministry acknowledged that some fiscal cash registers may not be adapted to the new functionalities required by the new traffic monitoring platform, so businesses may have to make alternative choices. “For all those who would not want to use a fiscal register, there is the possibility of computers and cell phones. We will be negotiating with software development companies to create one for the new fiscal system that will be made available to businesses.

These companies can be licensed by the General Directorate of Taxation, with the approval of the National Agency for Information Society and the aim is to have an open market. Through the protocol they give us, they will create this software and provide it to the business. The idea is that by opening up the market and having as many companies on the market as possible, we can achieve a ceiling price of between 60 and 80 euros per year for sofa. It will be downloadable as an app on a smartphone and the invoice will be printed via a fiscal printer,” the Ministry declared.

Regarding costs, the group of accountants in the consultative meeting said that although the platform will be covered by the state budget, some software solution or communication system, are new costs for the entities. It remains unclear whether the electronic billing device will be an extra cost, if the electronic device for issuing the accompanying fiscal memory invoice for recording fiscal data on the associated invoices will incur additional costs if it also costs the fiscal printer to issue invoices through the electronic billing device, or to issue the accompanying invoice, if the fiscal printer is not part of the electronic billing device.

Potential costs include any electronic equipment such as a computer, mobile phone, etc., used to compile and issue invoices for the sale of goods and to provide cashless payment services or software solutions along with a communications system between the taxpayer and the tax administration through a secure network for electronic data transfer via the Internet. In the final is the electronic signature that is defined in accordance with the law “On electronic signature and the law “On electronic identification and trusted services,” which can also be costly.

 
                    [post_title] => The 2020 Fiscal Package
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => the-2020-fiscal-package
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2019-09-10 08:22:59
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-09-10 06:22:59
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=143015
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [9] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 142732
                    [post_author] => 338
                    [post_date] => 2019-07-18 14:04:43
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2019-07-18 12:04:43
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, July 18- According to a Balkan Business Survey report for 2018, direct advertising and communication with customers through modern channels - Facebook, YouTube or InstaGram is becoming increasingly important, while more traditional means of communication and marketing via email or website is gradually becoming outdated.

26 percent of companies in the Balkans sell their products or services through the Internet, but this is an important source of income for only 20 percent of them (about 5 percent of the total number of surveyed businesses). It seems that Albanian businesses are the ones that are more related to traditional sales channels, while Serbs and Montenegrins are more open and seek to modernize their marketing means.

As in previous reports, companies in South Eastern Europe use the internet to communicate via email, Skype and similar communications channels. In addition, 46 percent of companies used the Internet for advertising in 2018, an increase of 3 percent from last year.

The third most common reason for using the internet is the introduction of companies through websites, from 51 percent in 2017 to 42 percent in 2018. About two-fifths of respondents use the internet for online banking, which is lower than the 45 percent reported in 2017. There has also been a significant decrease in the proportion of firms using the internet for online sales at 20 percent, from 32 percent in 2017.

Internet usage varies depending on the company subgroup. For example, it is still important for large and big companies to be introduced through a well-maintained website. On the other hand, only 30 percent of small companies have their own website, while up to 10 percent do not use the Internet at all. Exporters are usually more engaged in the Internet in all categories, compared to companies focused exclusively on the local market. Most of the companies still use traditional store sales, while online sales are still low, although its importance is steadily growing globally.
                    [post_title] => Albanian businesses are not innovative
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => albanian-businesses-are-not-innovative
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2019-07-18 14:04:43
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-07-18 12:04:43
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=142732
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

        )

    [post] => WP_Post Object
        (
            [ID] => 143111
            [post_author] => 281
            [post_date] => 2019-09-22 11:49:42
            [post_date_gmt] => 2019-09-22 09:49:42
            [post_content] => TIRANA, Sept. 21 – Albania, Kosovo and North Macedonia are seeking the permanent removal of the barriers between them said the representatives of the states’ Chambers, who met in Skopje under a regional initiative whose main goal is the increase of regional cooperation among the three state’s businesses.

The goal of this first-time ‘Regional B2B Event,’ which took place in North Macedonia’s Skopje, was to enable the direct meeting between the regional businesses of Albania, North Macedonia and Kosovo in order to expand the markets in the regional level and beyond.

The networking event was hosted by the Economic Chamber of North-West Macedonia (ECNWM), Chamber of Doing Business in Kosovo and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Tirana, while its participants constituted the North Macedonia’s highest representatives, such as Head of Parliament Talat Xhaferi, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, Minister of Economy Kreshnik Bekteshi as well as representative of the office of USAID in North Macedonia Eric Janoesky.

The Chairman of ECNWM Nebi Hoxha said the increase of competitiveness and longevity of a company mainly depends on the networking the company has created and that through its established network the ECNWM has the perfect preconditions to lead the regionalization of North Macedonia’s enterprises.

“In this line, the focus must be to create the possibilities for the broadening of companies’ markets in the regional level.” Hoxha emphasized.

Meanwhile Nikolin Jaka, Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Tirana, said that despite the increase of commercial exchange between Albania and Kosovo, the optimal level has not been reached yet and many bureaucratic barriers still exist.

He added it is necessary “for all sides of the triangle to work” and that this specific case gravely lacks both road and railway infrastructure from N. Macedonia to Albania and Kosovo alike, around which revolves the problem of the movement of goods and people.

In addition to the B2B meetings between the businesses, the event was also characterized by the Economic Forum, which held the ‘Facilitation of commerce through the institutional cooperation between North Macedonia, Kosovo and Albania’ forum and ‘Opportunities of cooperation, investments and common access to regional markets and beyond’ forum, part of which were also the three states’ heads of customs.

Further on, the aims of this project are to improve the services offered by ECNWM towards businesses, access of companies to financial resources and increase of investments from leading companies to enhance the supply chain and development of labor.

 
            [post_title] => Albania, Kosovo and N. Macedonia seek permanent removal of barriers
            [post_excerpt] => 
            [post_status] => publish
            [comment_status] => closed
            [ping_status] => closed
            [post_password] => 
            [post_name] => albania-kosovo-and-n-macedonia-seek-permanent-removal-of-barriers
            [to_ping] => 
            [pinged] => 
            [post_modified] => 2019-09-22 11:49:42
            [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-09-22 09:49:42
            [post_content_filtered] => 
            [post_parent] => 0
            [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=143111
            [menu_order] => 0
            [post_type] => post
            [post_mime_type] => 
            [comment_count] => 0
            [filter] => raw
        )

    [queried_object] => stdClass Object
        (
            [term_id] => 5
            [name] => Economy
            [slug] => economy
            [term_group] => 0
            [term_taxonomy_id] => 5
            [taxonomy] => category
            [description] => 
            [parent] => 0
            [count] => 7874
            [filter] => raw
            [cat_ID] => 5
            [category_count] => 7874
            [category_description] => 
            [cat_name] => Economy
            [category_nicename] => economy
            [category_parent] => 0
        )

    [queried_object_id] => 5
    [post__not_in] => Array
        (
        )

)

Latest News

Read More