Net metering to increase profits in renewable energy

Net metering to increase profits in renewable energy

TIRANA, June 20- The world is going green by day and Albania,too, is increasingly discussing the promotion of renewable energy sources, finding incentive schemes to support such investments, and developing relevant methodologies for each component, the regulatory framework always needs

Read Full Article
Non-performing bank loans increase

Non-performing bank loans increase

TIRANA, June 19- The non-repayable loans in banks have increased in the first four months of the year after reaching in December last year, the lowest level since 2010. According to Bank of Albania’s statistics, the non-performing loans ratio increased

Read Full Article
Loans for housing increase

Loans for housing increase

TIRANA, June 19- Bank of Albania data show that home loans increased by 11 percent compared to the previous year. At the end of March, the stock of household loans was 57.5 billion lek (473.1 million euros), while the loan

Read Full Article
Informal economy still at concerning levels

Informal economy still at concerning levels

TIRANA, June 19- The Albanian Trade Union (ATU) has brought the undeclared economy back into focus as a dangerous component that drives policies in unrealistic planning and undermines all business activities in the country. After a study on this phenomenon

Read Full Article
Economy in Brief

Economy in Brief

Record depreciation of the euro in 11 years As more tourists are arriving in Albania for the summer season increasing the offer for the foreign currency, the euro is depreciating ever more against the Albanian lek. Based on the official

Read Full Article
Exports decrease during the first five months

Exports decrease during the first five months

TIRANA, June 19- Albanian exported goods during the first five months of 2019 fell by 3.6 percent compared to the same period last year, reaching an overall value of 127 billion lek (1 billion euros). This was influenced by a

Read Full Article
New draft laws to combat money laundering

New draft laws to combat money laundering

TIRANA, June 18- Three draft-laws that are still at the stage of discussion in parliamentary committees intend to close the paths of informality, money laundering, and terrorist financing. They come as a reflection of claims made by Moneyval (Council of

Read Full Article
Apartment prices as construction increases in Tirana

Apartment prices as construction increases in Tirana

TIRANA, June 18- According to the Albanian Construction Portal there are 245 construction projects currently underway in Tirana, from 227 at the beginning of the year. In the first quarter of 2019, the Municipality of Tirana has issued permission for

Read Full Article
Weak financial culture still prevails among Albanians

Weak financial culture still prevails among Albanians

TIRANA, June 17- The Bank of Albania recently published the data from the second survey in measuring the level of financial culture of the population conducted during the summer of 2015.  The results obtained show that Albanians do not possess

Read Full Article
Managing the hydric energy risk

Managing the hydric energy risk

TIRANA, June 17- Sustainability of the energy sector in Albania has a major impact on fiscal growth and consolidation. This sector continues to expose the government to considerable financial risks. Budget lending to the energy sector amounted to 0.4 percent

Read Full Article
WP_Query Object
(
    [query_vars] => Array
        (
            [cat] => 5
            [paged] => 1
            [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] => 
            [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] => 7817
    [max_num_pages] => 782
    [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] => 1a4d3b00c08b1a4efc3a7d1349d9d8ce
    [query_vars_changed:WP_Query:private] => 
    [thumbnails_cached] => 1
    [stopwords:WP_Query:private] => 
    [query] => Array
        (
            [cat] => 5
            [paged] => 1
        )

    [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] => 142273
                    [post_author] => 338
                    [post_date] => 2019-06-20 18:31:34
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2019-06-20 16:31:34
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, June 20- The world is going green by day and Albania,too, is increasingly discussing the promotion of renewable energy sources, finding incentive schemes to support such investments, and developing relevant methodologies for each component, the regulatory framework always needs improvements. A photovoltaic panels park is being constructed, while Norwegian Statkraft which also operates in Albania, has concluded a deal to build a floating solar panel in Banja.

A workshop held in Tirana this Tuesday focused on issues such as net metering and support mechanisms for energy auctions, first pointing to the importance that these two elements have in developing renewable energy sources. Petrit Ahmeti who is the chief of the Energy Regulatory Entity (ERE) at the same time Vice President of MedReg (Mediterranean Energy Regulators), emphasized on the steps that have been thrown by the institution he leads in function of the sector's support. As a regulator, the ERE has periodically approved its share of legislation or regulations.

But despite the positive steps that have been thrown, it seems that the government on the other hand has failed to keep up the pace with the adoption of secondary legislation. The workshop panel participants brought attention to the standby with independent manufacturers that have installed photovoltaic panels for self-consumption and are being obstructed by a missing guidance that is still under discussion, as well as the necessary methodology that will account for output surpluses.

Gjergj Simaku from the Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy underlined that the ministry has almost the framework that is in dispute with the stakeholders but what is being carefully considered is the categorization of customers who have installed or installing renewable energy sources for  self-consumption. According to him, this guarantees more security for self-producers but also for the system in general. Simaku said that Albania remains open to see other good experiences coming from countries that have developed this aspect.

Net metering is a regulatory scheme under which power surges surpluses in the grid can be used at a second moment as a reserve consumption at a time when production from renewable sources is either inadequate or insufficient. This means that if an energy-generator from solar panels produces more energy during the day than the consumption, it can shed the excess in the grid and use it over the night when needed and when there is no production from the network. The system brings to the final if this is a net consumer who will pay the energy or a net producer that might benefit some money from selling the surplus.
                    [post_title] => Net metering to increase profits in renewable energy
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => net-metering-to-increase-profits-in-renewable-energy
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2019-06-20 18:31:34
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-06-20 16:31:34
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=142273
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [1] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 142270
                    [post_author] => 338
                    [post_date] => 2019-06-20 18:29:27
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2019-06-20 16:29:27
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, June 19- The non-repayable loans in banks have increased in the first four months of the year after reaching in December last year, the lowest level since 2010. According to Bank of Albania's statistics, the non-performing loans ratio increased by 0.08 percentage points from the previous month, reaching 11.46 percent of total loans granted by banks to businesses, individuals and others. This indicator had fallen to 11.08 percent in December, from 13.28 percent in December 2017. In absolute terms, loans received from businesses and individuals, which are more than three months late in installment repayments, were 500 million euros.

Compared with December 2018, banks' portfolios have also added 30 million euros in debt that is lagging behind. The banking system saw a decline in the level of non-performing loans during last year. The Bank of Albania estimated that the decline of non-performing loans, alongside the improvement of economic activity, reflects the commitment of banks in meeting the plan of measures to reduce these loans. Clearing banks' balances on non-performing loans and consolidating the banking system is expected to help sustainably increase credit in the future. But at least in the first four months of the year, this trend is not being observed, signaling difficulties in business activity which bear the largest share of problematic loans.

A recent report made by the European Banking Coordination Initiative in Vienna stated that despite the downturn, Albania has the highest level of non-performing loans (NPL) of its banking sector from 17 countries in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe (CESEE) over the 12 months to September 2018. The NPL ratio in Albania fell by 1.9 percentage points year-on-year to 12.9 percent at the end of September, but remained the highest in the region, according to the CESEE half-yearly instrument, published by the “NPL Initiative,” a subset of the Vienna Initiative. Only two countries remain above the 10 percent threshold at CESEE, Albania at 12.9 percent and Croatia with 10.2 percent.
                    [post_title] => Non-performing bank loans increase
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => non-performing-bank-loans-increase
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2019-06-20 18:29:27
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-06-20 16:29:27
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=142270
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [2] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 142267
                    [post_author] => 338
                    [post_date] => 2019-06-20 18:28:14
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2019-06-20 16:28:14
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, June 19- Bank of Albania data show that home loans increased by 11 percent compared to the previous year. At the end of March, the stock of household loans was 57.5 billion lek (473.1 million euros), while the loan stock of euro-denominated housing loans was 53.8 billion lek (442.7 million euros). Euro denominated loans declined due to the depreciation of the currency, but also as a consequence of the de-euroization policy pursued by the Bank of Albania to reduce the use of the common currency in the economy.

Klajdi Memajdini from DevInf real estate agency said that 70 to 80 percent of sales mediated through his agency are financed through credit. According to credit officers working in commercial banks, home purchase loans have low risk and are rarely classified as bad loans because individuals strive at all costs to keep up with banks to avoid losing their homes.

The periphery is required by low-income individuals who are favored by soft loans. By the end of 2018, 1104 heads of households were soft loan beneficiaries who benefited from fixed-rate home loans of 3 percent, while the rest were subsidized by the Municipality of Tirana. The total amount of soft loan for the winners of 2018 is 5.9 billion lek (48.5 million euros). 359 of them have applied for a condominium, more than half for a 1+1 home, and 194 for a 2+1 home.

Market sources claim that the majority of individuals who are soft loan beneficiaries have low income of no more than 75-80 thousand lek (617-658 euros) a month, that generally have no savings other than credit. Generally, they supplied the demand for purchase on the suburbs, in the Yzberisht or Fresku area, where according to credit officers the house prices have increased. 

The Bank of Albania reported that housing prices increased by 15.2 percent over the period 2013-2018. The index is calculated on the basis of information reported by construction companies and agents operating in the real estate market. Direct and indirect indicators of activity in the real estate market say the supply and demand have generally shown an increase over the period. The bank clarifies that in the real estate market demand generally reflects demographic developments, revenue performance and financing conditions for acquisition or development of real estate, while the offer is related to the number of construction permits.

From the point of view of demand, the banking sector data for the period show a slight decline in real estate purchase credit surplus during the first half of 2018, but higher than in the previous year. The interest rates on real estate loans grew slightly during the second half of the year. Respondents report that about 54 percent of residential and commercial properties sold by them were purchased by bank lending. And as demand for real estate loans has increased, the terms of approval for this type of loan and borrowers category have continued to ease.

The construction loan surplus has increased by 8.7 percent compared to the end of the first half. Construction loans account for 15 percent of credit outstanding for businesses and this share has increased, but remains below the level of around 20 percent recorded over the 2007-2011 timeframe. The quality of real estate credit has improved and the ratio of non-performing loans dropped to 5.7 percent, from 6.8 percent in June 2018.
                    [post_title] => Loans for housing increase
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => loans-for-housing-increase
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2019-06-20 18:28:14
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-06-20 16:28:14
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=142267
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [3] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 142264
                    [post_author] => 338
                    [post_date] => 2019-06-20 18:19:34
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2019-06-20 16:19:34
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, June 19- The Albanian Trade Union (ATU) has brought the undeclared economy back into focus as a dangerous component that drives policies in unrealistic planning and undermines all business activities in the country. After a study on this phenomenon in various sectors of the economy, ATU declared that little progress has been made in reducing the informality in our country.

This is also evidenced from studies made by international organizations which state that Albania has considerable levels of informality in the economy. This high rate reflects the country's economic development model, where agriculture takes first place both with the highest degree of informality, but also as the largest employing sector. 

According to an International Monetary Fund (IMF) report on informal economy in 158 countries, Albania ranked 54th in the world for the size of the informal economy in relation to GDP. The average size of the shadow economy in the 158 countries is 31.9 percent, while Albania has the gray economy above the world average. 

Analogue to the IMF report is also a study by the World Bank on the progress of small and medium enterprises in the Balkans, which estimates that informality in Albania continues to remain high and accounts for up to 50 percent of the economy. The study says that although Albania has taken measures to reduce informality, the phenomenon remains a challenge for the tax administration. Informal businesses generally have lower productivity than formal businesses. The World Bank estimates that, although Albania has adopted a large variety of rules to monitor abuses, their implementation remains weak due to continued informality in the workforce.

ATU reports that a profound and long-term reform including all administrative structures, civil society, consumers and traders is needed to rid this informal economy. This reform should not only involve punitive measures, but also start as a natural awareness process for all citizens. Suggestions include introducing better competitiveness for the businesses that file the largest number of tax invoices, to offer provisions for businesses that facilitate the country's fiscal burden by providing tax coupons, to raise awareness, train tax workers and the customs for the manner of communication with the interested parties, the manner of obtaining information etc. 

Although actions to increase security and punish offenders and informal abusers have been taken in the food market, the challenges still remain. There is increased attention to the most extreme cases where fish sold on sidewalks, or on small and open pickups that turned into its stores. However, it seems that the law is respected only in the main urban areas, because in other towns ambulatory merchants still sell food products on the street.  

There is still a good deal of merchants that act in almost complete informality. But it is concerning how the competent authorities sometimes allow violators and abusers to continue competing unfairly with all other legitimate and formal businesses that contribute to the functioning of the country by paying all taxes. If the government was sufficed only by imposing fines, then the citizens themselves should become more aware and demand that they are served with the optimal trading conditions of all types of products, demand the presence of seals from the food control agency, product certification, tax coupon, etc.. 

Another case are the second-hand clothing stores, which are among the most frequented in Tirana, driven by poverty and desire to dress in brands. Most of these businesses operate by putting their clothes on sidewalks to attract customers. A negotiation to prices is usually included to the final transaction, but the buyer does not receive a tax invoice, as these businesses generally operate in the black market.

 
                    [post_title] => Informal economy still at concerning levels
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => informal-economy-still-at-concerning-levels
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2019-06-20 18:19:34
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-06-20 16:19:34
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=142264
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [4] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 142262
                    [post_author] => 338
                    [post_date] => 2019-06-20 18:14:52
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2019-06-20 16:14:52
                    [post_content] => Record depreciation of the euro in 11 years

As more tourists are arriving in Albania for the summer season increasing the offer for the foreign currency, the euro is depreciating ever more against the Albanian lek. Based on the official rate from the Bank of Albania, at the beginning of the week 1 euro was exchanged with 121.6 lek, down by one point. This is the lowest value since 2008. The main reason of the depreciation is tourists bringing in the economy more foreign currencies, that according to the Bank of Albania data they brought 348 million euros during the first quarter of the year. Another reason for the depreciation of the euro according to foreign exchange market experts relates to the approximation of dates to settle the VAT and insurance liabilities of businesses. 

 

Albanian migrants brought 1.3 billion euros in 2018

About 1.2 million Albanian individuals living and working abroad brought in Albania 1.3 billion euros in the form of remittances in 2018, of which 927 million euros come in the form of personal transfers and 309 million euros in income from work. Outflows were 97.5 million euros, remaining 1.23 billion euros, an amount that is nearly 8 percent higher than the previous year, according to the figures published by the Bank of Albania. Remittances are a source of income for about 26 percent of Albanian households. Abroad transfers account for 90 percent of household recipients' incomes. From around 770 thousand households in Albania, about 200 thousand of them live through the income they receive from their relatives living and working abroad.

 

Albania starts to remove roaming tariffs with Kosovo

Kosovar Economic Development Minister Valdrin Lluka, has announced that Albania has already started implementing the agreement for the abolition of roaming tariffs for the citizens of Kosovo. So all citizens of Kosovo who visit Albania can now communicate without roaming. In recent declarations, Kosovo government officials had promised that roaming between Kosovo and Albania would take place in May of this year. The roaming tariff refers to the telecommunications and services that citizens use in another country from a mobile phone operator's center. These tariffs are mostly twice as high as those used within a country. The abolition of telecommunications tariffs for the Western Balkan countries has demanded the European Union as a form of facilitation for communication between citizens.

 

Number of Kosovo businesses in Albania decreases

The business climate between Albania and Kosovo has deteriorated recently, as economic cooperation is not progressing, on the contrary, during 2018 the number of businesses from Kosovo was 423, down 11 percent from the previous year. The imposition of a new tariff on the Nation's Way and the worsening of the business climate in Albania have discouraged Kosovo businesses from continuing their activity in Albania. Enterprises from Kosovo were growing in recent years after a deterioration that was observed in 2015, but it seems that the situation has started to deteriorate again. A survey that the Kosovo government did this year with businesses there to identify barriers to export, Albania took second place behind Serbia for the high barriers. Customs clearance procedures in Albania, payment of scanner, notarization of analysis, payment on the way of the nation, failure to take into account the invoice price by the Albanian Customs, implementation of the high excise rate for the beer sector are some of the obstacles to which increase the cost of production but also lower the level of competitiveness of Kosovo products in the Albanian market.

 

Baby bonuses costs the government 6 million euros

According to the Ministry of Finance, the Albanian government has distributed through the state budget 6 million euros in the form of a bonus for babies born after January 1 during the first five months of the year. Given the drastic fall in the number of births, the government decided last year to provide financial incentives to promote fertility in the country. According to the government's decision as of Jan. 1, 2019, for the birth of the first child, mothers receive 40 thousand lek (329 euros), then an additional 40 thousand lek for each other child born. While for mother with twin-born, the benefit rate is 80 thousand lek (658 euros) for each child, while for triplets the benefit rate will be 120 thousand lek (987 euros) for each child. The fertility rate in Albania currently is 1.37, our of 2.1 which is the average. That means that 137 babies are born for 100 women.

 

Banking system still on high profits

April statistics confirmed the positive performance of the banking system in the country. Based on Bank of Albania data, for the first four months of the year the system made a profit of about 6 billion lek (49.3 million euros), almost the same as the first quarter of last year. In terms of return on equity, the profitability of the banking sector was 12.1 percent from 12.4 percent for the same period a year earlier. Results at system level rely on Bank of Albania's supervisory standards. This is a result of the improvement of asset quality and especially the gradual reduction of the non-performing loans ratio, which is now close to 11.5 percent, when during the crisis years it reached 25 percent.

 

Expensive lunches in Albania and Montenegro

According to website Numbeo which reports various indicators on living costs and quality of life, a meal for two persons in an average restaurant in Albania will not cost more than 2500 lek (20 euros). Comparing to Switzerland, the bill in our country is about four times lower, but when compared to the region, Albania is listed among the expensive countries along with Montenegro. In Montenegro, a three-course lunch for two people in an average restaurant costs about 3000 lek (24.5 euros), more expensive than in some European countries such as Slovakia, the Czech Republic or Poland, where the same menu costs 2800 lek (23 euros). Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina ranked among the cheapest countries in Europe to eat out, where a standard three-plate menu costs less than 2000 lek (16 euros). Serbia also offers a cheap fare in restaurants, with a of 2,332 lek (19 euros) for two persons.
                    [post_title] => Economy in Brief
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => economy-in-brief-12
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2019-06-20 18:14:52
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-06-20 16:14:52
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=142262
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [5] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 142248
                    [post_author] => 338
                    [post_date] => 2019-06-19 14:01:32
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2019-06-19 12:01:32
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, June 19- Albanian exported goods during the first five months of 2019 fell by 3.6 percent compared to the same period last year, reaching an overall value of 127 billion lek (1 billion euros). This was influenced by a weak performance of three groups, textiles and footwear, fuel and energy, and building materials and metals. A positive impact came from machinery and spare parts, and foodstuffs.

Exports of “Minerals, fuels, electricity” recorded a decline of 24 percent, driven by the decline in energy exports due to dry weather, and by the fact that the largest exporter in the country, Bankers Petroleum, has sold more oil domestically due to its deal with the ARMO refinery. 

The textile and footwear sector which accounts to nearly 41 percent of total exports, sold 51.6 billion lek (424.2 million euros) of goods, down 1.9 percent. This came due to the euro depreciation which affected company profits to fall by almost 15 percent over the last year. Contract renewals have thus been hung back, also because of the higher prices that the enterprises are asking.

Exports of construction materials and metals were 20.4 billion lek (167.6 million euros), down 9.6 percent. Sources from Kurum, the group’s largest exporter, said that in the first two months of the year the company lowered exports due to bad weather and factory refurbishment but now it has normally restarted its activity. A significant increase has marked the exports of this company to Kosovo influenced by 100 percent taxation on Bosnia and Herzegovina, which Zenica factory was the company’s only competitor in Kosovo. The demand from Kosovo has increased immediately by 15-20 percent, and it is growing on the meantime.

A significant growth by 30.4 percent are the exports of “Machinery, equipment and spare parts,” reaching 7 percent of total exports. This positive impact came from increased investments in companies that manufacture or install spare parts for vehicles, the automotive support industry experiencing thus an expansion in the Albanian market. Exports of “Food, beverages, tobacco” also saw a significant growth by 12.3 percent, accounting for 11 percent of the total exports in the country for the observed period.

But as exports of Albanian goods decreased during the first five months of 2019, the imports reached a value of 264 billion lek (2.16 billion euros), increasing by 3.4 percent compared to the previous year. Thus, the trade deficit reached the value of 137 billion lek (1.1 billion euros), increasing by 10.9 percent compared to the same period of 2018. 

During this five-month period, the countries with which Albania had the largest increase in exports compared to the previous year are Kosovo (40.1 percent), Germany (0.5 percent), and North Macedonia (7,8 percent). The countries with which exports had the largest decrease, were Italy (-1.1 percent), Spain (-25.8 percent) and Greece (-7.8 percent). 
                    [post_title] => Exports decrease during the first five months
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => exports-decrease-during-the-first-five-months
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2019-06-19 14:01:32
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-06-19 12:01:32
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=142248
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [6] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 142245
                    [post_author] => 338
                    [post_date] => 2019-06-19 13:56:39
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2019-06-19 11:56:39
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, June 18- Three draft-laws that are still at the stage of discussion in parliamentary committees intend to close the paths of informality, money laundering, and terrorist financing. They come as a reflection of claims made by Moneyval (Council of Europe's anti-money laundering assessment unit), which last year included Albania on the list of monitored sites for a year to see the measures to be taken, part of which are these specific adjustments.

The Minister of Finance and Economy Anila Denaj emphasized that the package of three draft laws “Business Registration,” “On Tax Procedures in the Republic of Albania,” and “On Measures against the financing of terrorism,” aims to fulfill the recommendations and address the issues identified in the Council of Europe Monetary Committee evaluation report on money laundering and terrorist financing issues.

“Penalties should not be an end in themselves, neither for business nor for the Ministry, but should be in the function of promoting honest business by respecting the procedures and legal deadlines for filing, registering and opening bank accounts, which will play an important role in reducing the informal economy and preventing money laundering and financing of terrorism,” said Denaj.

Two innovations that the change in the law “On Business Registration” will bring include firstly, a greater transparency in the case of partner changes in a business, which should be declared according to the deadlines set. Secondly, predicting penalties for those who do not apply this point, and the application for the change of partner and/or structure of the partnership of a legal person is made within 30 calendar days from the date of the factual situation of the change. Likewise, it is foreseen that the application for the initial registration of the commercial companies is jointly made by all the founders or by the administrator of the company, or by any person authorized by them. If the individuals act in violation of the law they are subject to fines up to 100 thousand lek (820 euros).

Changes in the draft law “On Tax Procedures” will first aim to reduce the informal economy and the use of physical money by businesses, where every business with turnover over 2 million lek (16.4 thousand euros) should have a bank account. Already registered entities should open the bank account no later than 90 days from the entry into force of this law and declare it in the tax administration, while newly registered entities should open a bank account no later than 20 calendar days after enrolling at the National Business Center/Tax Administration, and declaring it to the Tax Administration. All those who fail to meet the requirements set forth in the law are penalized with fines based on their category and revenue, starting from 50 thousand lek (410 euros) to 100 thousand lek. If the subject does not open a bank account for the transactions even after the fine, then it will be penalized by double the first fine.

“On the prevention of money laundering and the financing of terrorism” law aims to protect the financial system and the economy as a whole from the threats of money laundering, terrorist financing, strengthening the integrity of the preventive system in the country and contributing to peace and security. Changes include firstly to provide an explanation of a set of terms related to correspondent services from banks and other financial institutions. Secondly, politically exposed observers will be extended for a period of 10 years after leaving office. This category also includes individuals who have or had important functions in a government and/or a foreign country, such as: head of state and/or government, senior politicians, senior government officials, courts or the army, senior executives of state companies, important political party officials. 

This law also includes for the first time virtual tools marketed in digital form such as bitcoin, and also brings the concept of simplified attenuation to customers, which can be performed in cases where low risk of money laundering is identified and/or financing of terrorism, based on the risk assessments of the authorities charged by law, as well as risk assessments and management procedures established by the entities themselves.

Albania has entered the list of countries that will be subject to a follow-up or enhanced monitoring by Moneyval due to the weaknesses that have been identified in the latest 2018 report on measures to prevent money laundering and the fight against terrorism. “Territories or states may be placed under enhanced prosecution if identified serious compliance with standards or where countries or territories have not taken satisfactory measures to go beyond the 5-year regular assessment system after the approval of the report.” Albania has a year to address the problems, or it risks falling back on the gray list of countries with high risk of money laundering. 

The graduated process is currently as follows:
  • Step 1: MONEYVAL inviting the Secretary General of the Council of Europe to send a letter to the relevant Minister(s) of the State or territory concerned, drawing his/her/their attention to non-compliance with the reference documents and the necessary corrective measures to be taken;
  • Step 2: Arranging a high-level mission to the non-complying State or territory to meet relevant Ministers and senior officials to reinforce this message;
  • Step 3: In the context of the application of the 2012 FATF Recommendation 19 by MONEYVAL States and territories, issuing a formal public statement to the effect that a State or territory insufficiently complied with the reference documents and inviting the members of the global AML/CFT network to take into account the risks posed by the non-complying State or territory.
  • Step 4: Referring the matter for possible consideration under the FATF’s International Co-operation Review Group (ICRG) process, if this meets the nomination criteria set out under the ICRG procedures  
[post_title] => New draft laws to combat money laundering [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => new-draft-laws-to-combat-money-laundering [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-06-20 10:41:02 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-06-20 08:41:02 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=142245 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 142241 [post_author] => 338 [post_date] => 2019-06-19 13:52:53 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-06-19 11:52:53 [post_content] => TIRANA, June 18- According to the Albanian Construction Portal there are 245 construction projects currently underway in Tirana, from 227 at the beginning of the year. In the first quarter of 2019, the Municipality of Tirana has issued permission for the construction of residential buildings with an area exceeding 479 thousand square meter, with an approximate value of about 141 million euros. Compared to the same quarter a year ago, the area of new permits granted has nearly fivefold. The main actors in the country's real estate market, builders and real estate agents say they have already reached peak construction levels in the capital, moreover that a good deal of permits have not been used yet. While the offer is rapidly increasing, prices have reached some sort of equilibrium in the market, while in certain areas they have begun to fall due to the high number of apartments being built. As buyers can find apartments varying from 700, 850, up to 2500 euros per square meter in some residential areas, there are some other projects emerging in the center with luxury apartments which prices start from a minimum of 2600 euros per square meter and reach up to 4000 euros per square meter. The main buyers of these apartments which cost a minimum of 250-300 thousand euros, are entrepreneurs, bankers, etc. Market actors claim that cash sales are high as well, as banks are generally focused on lending average loans and stay away from this segment. However, market actors predict that there will be positive performance for sales in areas with average prices of 700-900 euros per square meter, but predict stagnation for downtown construction and towers. They expect the demand to be weak, as high taxes will not allow builders to lower prices. Taxes are one of the main concerns of the sector. Initially, it was the infrastructure tax, which by 4 percent over construction costs became 8 percent over the sale price, and it is paid before construction began. The biggest concern of the main operators in the market is that construction in the Tirana area is being done without empirical studies and without relying on an analysis of how the demand performance will continue in Tirana. Market operators predict that there will be a real estate market deadlock in the next two or three years, driven by falling demand, as well as price fluctuations in relation to purchasing power in the country. There are several factors that are expected to affect household demand for housing. Firstly, the phenomenon of emigration in recent has become apparent, reflecting its consequences on consumption as well. Many agro-food industries in the country are talking about declining sales, owing to lower consumption of food by the departure of young people. Secondly, core families are becoming increasingly small, which will change consumer behavior. Klajdi Memajdini who is real estate agent from DevInf, says families are now looking for a modest area because of the inability to buy homes with a larger area, and because they are increasingly smaller. Housing demand will be mainly provided by new residents coming to Tirana from the districts. About 70 people per day arrived in Tirana during 2018. Market operators say the new arrivals in the city supply both the rental and sales market at the same time, but they belong to a category seeking economic prices, which does not match the boom of luxury and high-rise construction. Most people who have changed their place of residence in the last four years have moved to urban centers, which in most cases involve the capital or the surrounding areas. Although internal movements are multidimensional, it is evident that the vast majority of internal migration flows focus on Tirana and Durres. There are three main residency areas: Zone 1: Yzberisht, New Ring, Astir and Fresku. Sales prices range from 500 to 700 euro/m2, with an increase by almost 25 percent in the last two years. Zone 2: Rr. Elbasanit, Rr. Medar Shtylla, Rr. Ali Demi, Rr. Dibra, Train Station, and Lake. Sales prices range from 800 to 1400 euros/m2. In the Lake area the sales prices currently range between 800 to 1,400 euros/m2. Over the past two years there has been a 20 percent increase in these areas. Zone 3: the Block (Blloku), the Republican Guard, and around the Albanian Radio Television (RTSH). Prices range from 1,800 to 3,000 euros/m2. In the last 24 months prices in these areas increased by 14 percent. [post_title] => Apartment prices as construction increases in Tirana [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => apartment-prices-as-construction-increases-in-tirana [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-06-19 13:52:53 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-06-19 11:52:53 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=142241 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 142238 [post_author] => 338 [post_date] => 2019-06-19 10:39:56 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-06-19 08:39:56 [post_content] => TIRANA, June 17- The Bank of Albania recently published the data from the second survey in measuring the level of financial culture of the population conducted during the summer of 2015.  The results obtained show that Albanians do not possess very good financial knowledge with an index of 12.7 out of 21, or only one point below the average of the OECD countries, and 0.6 points below the average of all countries that participated in this survey. More than 90 percent of respondents are able to perform simple calculations, only half of them know how to calculate a simple interest rate, while a quarter answer erroneously and the same percentage do not know how to respond. Only 29 percent of them respond to the question of compound interest, while half of them give a wrong answer. Only 52 percent of respondents correctly answer the question that tests the recognition of money value on time. 89 percent of respondents are familiar with loan interest, while 78 percent of them know and understand the relationship between risk and return from an investment, 71 percent know the concept of inflation and its effect on livelihood, only 66 percent of them responded correctly to the question of the relationship between risk and diversification of the portfolio, and 95 percent take their finances in consideration prior a purchase. The analysis of the answers obtained for questions that measure financial knowledge, according to socio-demographic characteristics, reveals that there is no difference in the financial knowledge of men and women. Regarding financial products, the least known products is the microfinance credit with only 17 percent of respondents knowing about it, while the most well-known is a savings account at a 79 percent rate. However, only 30 percent of them own such an account. Meanwhile, the current account is known by 58 percent of respondents but is owned by 51 percent of them. The data collected by the sample prove that Albanians are not very involved financially. Although with a 4 percent increase from 2011, only 46 percent of respondents reported having owned and used a current or savings account in the last two years. Albanians have financial knowledge of the needs, as they use very little financial products, although they know their importance. Country-level data shows that 15 percent of respondents own insurance products and 18 percent of respondents own at least one credit product. Measuring the level of financial knowledge of the Albanian population is accomplished with a set of 8 survey questions, which consider concepts such as inflation, diversification, risk and return on investment, simple and compound interest, and measure their accounting skills. Answers showed that Albanians possess medium-level financial knowledge, marking 64 percent correct answers. As performing simple mathematical actions with a mind fulfills the mastery of financial knowledge to a financially educated individual, 9 out of 10 respondents correctly answer the question. In terms of socio-demographic characteristics, there is no difference between men and women (91 percent), whereas higher levels of education appears to have a significant impact on the ability of the respondents to conduct arithmetic actions, with 97 percent correct answers from individuals with higher education, as opposed to only 69 percent of those without a school or part-time education. Overall citizens living in urban areas are more familiar with the concepts regarding a person’s financial education, compared to surveyed from the rural areas. Also the level of education indicated a higher level of financial knowledge and education, and there was not a great difference on the knowledge level among sexes. What was noticed, especially with loans, was that persons with higher income were also better financially educated than the rest of the surveyed persons. Positive remarks from the survey were also the fact that 81 percent of citizens manage to pay all their bills on time, 3 in 4 individuals agreed to attend to their personal finances, 71 percent manage a family budget. Relevant to that, 43 percent of surveyed admitted to having managed to cover all monthly expenses, while those who couldn’t, either got a loan from friends and/or family, or cut expenses. Nevertheless, the report estimated that 50 percent of all expenses are made for food. [post_title] => Weak financial culture still prevails among Albanians [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => weak-financial-culture-still-prevails-among-albanians [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-06-19 10:39:56 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-06-19 08:39:56 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=142238 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 142225 [post_author] => 338 [post_date] => 2019-06-17 13:23:39 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-06-17 11:23:39 [post_content] => TIRANA, June 17- Sustainability of the energy sector in Albania has a major impact on fiscal growth and consolidation. This sector continues to expose the government to considerable financial risks. Budget lending to the energy sector amounted to 0.4 percent of GDP in 2016 and 0.6 percent of GDP in 2017. Almost all domestic power generation comes from hydropower plants. Consequently, electricity production is heavily dependent on changes in precipitation during the seasons and years. When production fails to meet consumption in low rainfall periods and when reservoirs are low, the Albanian energy sector has to buy electricity from abroad at an expensive cost to meet the needs of the country, while it sells electricity at a fixed tariffs to regular end-users. When low rainfall coincides with high international energy prices, this causes large financial gaps for Albanian state-owned electricity companies. Then, the government is forced to intervene. The World Bank which made a report regarding the risks of hidric energy in Albania suggests that our country must act more firmly to address the financial risks from hydropower in the future. Governments and business partners in the energy sector have a menu of risk mitigation tools that can be used individually or in combination. Based on the international experience of managing the fiscal risk of hydro power, such as the risk mitigation strategy developed by Uruguay with the support of the World Bank, three key lessons can be drawn. The first is that Albania needs to increase the security of domestic energy production, by complementing the hydropower through a diversified energy base and strengthening the management of water reservoirs. Albania should promote the diversification of its energy base by complementing hydropower with other energy sources that are able to withstand electricity consumption during periods of low precipitation. Other pure energy sources, solar and wind energy, promise as complementary. This approach can be complemented by investment in dams and reservoirs to give energy companies optimal control of strategic water storage opportunities to offset hydropower during periods of high or low precipitation. Secondly, the Albanian energy sector should develop financial instruments to ease financing needs. Lending from the budget in an emergency situation to the energy sector over the years with low precipitation and high energy import prices could jeopardize public finances. Transfers from the budget, likewise, violate the principle promulgated by many governments that electricity companies should be run on commercial bases. Instead, the energy sector itself should develop its own financial instruments to ease financing needs. A special account, clearly defined contribution and payment policy, can automatically maintain a fraction of the profits over the periods of excess that can then be used to finance financial gaps. A financial guarantee may impose an ordinary premium on the payment of insurance for electricity companies. A fast loan or credit line can ensure that this loan is valid when the energy sector faces financial gaps. Thirdly, the liberalization of electricity tariffs, or a temporary increase in tariffs during drought periods, can help remove risk from the energy sector. While more customers face tariffs set by the market, electricity prices will fluctuate, reflecting supply conditions. In periods with low hydro power production, prices will increase, creating additional funding for electricity companies and stimulating consumers to tailor consumer modes with available production. In support of this, regulated tariffs can be increased with a temporary surcharge during periods of low precipitation. On the other hand, a permanent risk premium for hydropower can compensate companies to cope with the volatility of hydro power. Small fee adjustments are often enough to protect the sector from significant fiscal costs. Increasing domestic supply support, including through diversification of the energy base, will require time and mobilization of significant new investments. Likewise, energy companies may be reluctant to pay in advance cost for expensive financial instruments that facilitate their funding needs, as long as regulated tariffs do not reflect cost and have an unspoken expectation to intervene by the government save. Loans or quick credit lines can be expensive if financial conditions are too stringent or if the energy sector does not collect enough income to quickly repay the loan. This indicates that a measured, gradual and combined implementation of these different categories of risk mitigation instruments is needed. [post_title] => Managing the hydric energy risk [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => managing-the-hydric-energy-risk [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-06-17 13:23:39 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-06-17 11:23:39 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=142225 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 142273 [post_author] => 338 [post_date] => 2019-06-20 18:31:34 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-06-20 16:31:34 [post_content] => TIRANA, June 20- The world is going green by day and Albania,too, is increasingly discussing the promotion of renewable energy sources, finding incentive schemes to support such investments, and developing relevant methodologies for each component, the regulatory framework always needs improvements. A photovoltaic panels park is being constructed, while Norwegian Statkraft which also operates in Albania, has concluded a deal to build a floating solar panel in Banja. A workshop held in Tirana this Tuesday focused on issues such as net metering and support mechanisms for energy auctions, first pointing to the importance that these two elements have in developing renewable energy sources. Petrit Ahmeti who is the chief of the Energy Regulatory Entity (ERE) at the same time Vice President of MedReg (Mediterranean Energy Regulators), emphasized on the steps that have been thrown by the institution he leads in function of the sector's support. As a regulator, the ERE has periodically approved its share of legislation or regulations. But despite the positive steps that have been thrown, it seems that the government on the other hand has failed to keep up the pace with the adoption of secondary legislation. The workshop panel participants brought attention to the standby with independent manufacturers that have installed photovoltaic panels for self-consumption and are being obstructed by a missing guidance that is still under discussion, as well as the necessary methodology that will account for output surpluses. Gjergj Simaku from the Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy underlined that the ministry has almost the framework that is in dispute with the stakeholders but what is being carefully considered is the categorization of customers who have installed or installing renewable energy sources for  self-consumption. According to him, this guarantees more security for self-producers but also for the system in general. Simaku said that Albania remains open to see other good experiences coming from countries that have developed this aspect. Net metering is a regulatory scheme under which power surges surpluses in the grid can be used at a second moment as a reserve consumption at a time when production from renewable sources is either inadequate or insufficient. This means that if an energy-generator from solar panels produces more energy during the day than the consumption, it can shed the excess in the grid and use it over the night when needed and when there is no production from the network. The system brings to the final if this is a net consumer who will pay the energy or a net producer that might benefit some money from selling the surplus. [post_title] => Net metering to increase profits in renewable energy [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => net-metering-to-increase-profits-in-renewable-energy [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-06-20 18:31:34 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-06-20 16:31:34 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=142273 [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] => 7817 [filter] => raw [cat_ID] => 5 [category_count] => 7817 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Economy [category_nicename] => economy [category_parent] => 0 ) [queried_object_id] => 5 [post__not_in] => Array ( ) )

Latest News

Read More