Gjirokastra passes a project of a gas supplier

GJIROKASTRA, Sept. 19 – Gjirokastra officials passed Tuesday a project of the Swiss company EGL to supply liquid gas. EGL’s manager Gert Moser said that the project would make possible the construction of the TAP project and link eastern with

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American Bank of Albania Offers Good Mortgage Interest Rate Loans

TIRANA, Sept. 18 – The American Bank of Albania published its latest interest rates for all types of Mortgage Loans, which include: loans for housing and shops, reconstruction, furniture, etc.ABA offers some of the most competitive interest rates in the

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New wholesale market in Vlora

VLORA, Sept. 16 – A new vegetable wholesale market was built in the port town of Vlora. It was a $600,000 investment funded from the World Bank. Now on wholesale persons will have much better working conditions offering their products.

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Yacht port in Vlora helps tourism development

VLORA, Sept. 18 – The yacht port in Orikum Vlora district is the only investment of the kind in Albania. The small port is located just between the Karaburun peninsula and the city of Vlora. It was built b the

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Ruli visits Israel

TIRANA, Sept. 9 – Minister of Economy, Trade and Energy Genc Ruli held a three-day visit to Israel aiming at intensification and stronger cooperation with businesses there. Ruli was accompanied by a considerable number of Albanian businessmen. In the meeting

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21 tons of meat for Macedonia blocked in Durres

DURRES, Sept. 12 – The Albanian customs authorities blocked Monday in the western port city of Durres 21 tons of meat shipped from Germany to be imported in Macedonia, the Agriculture Ministry reported. According to the Albanian Customs Administration, the

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KESH installs power meters

TIRANA, Sept. 9 – Officials of the Albanian power corporation KESHsaid that a considerable number of power meters were installed in many areas countrywide. Only in Korca district, also covering Pogradec, Bilisht and Erseke in southeast Albania they had installed

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Agriculture ministry supports domestic production

TIRANA, Sept. 14 – Agriculture Minister Jemin Gjana said that authorities had supported the creation and management of 210 associations of farmers. This year saw an increase of the agriculture production like two percent more for vegetables, 17 percent for

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Albania, a Place for Investment

TIRANA, Sept. 14 – Economist Conferences, a global conference provider that is part of The Economist Group, publisher of The Economist, launched Thursday a government round-table in Tirana bringing together the key players from business and government to debate Albania’s

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IMF discusses 2007 budget with Albanian government

TIRANA, Sept. 13 – An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission led by Istvan P. Szekely held a four-day visit to Albania Sept. 11-14 to discuss with the Albanian executive the 2007 budget. The mission met with prime minister, minister of

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                    [post_content] => GJIROKASTRA, Sept. 19 - Gjirokastra officials passed Tuesday a project of the Swiss company EGL to supply liquid gas. EGL's manager Gert Moser said that the project would make possible the construction of the TAP project and link eastern with western Europe. This project would pass in three countries _ Greece, Albania and Italy for some hundreds of kilometers. In Albania it will be some 200 kilometers out of its total of 500 kilometers. Moser said that the investment would be some 600 million euro. The trans-Adriatic trace and the terminal of the liquid gas in the Albanian territory will ask for some 250 million euro investment and it will employ some 300 persons during construction and 80 when it is completed, according to Moser. All the line will be put 1.5 meter under the earth and there will be a secure environment.
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Sept. 18 - The American Bank of Albania published its latest interest rates for all types of Mortgage Loans, which include: loans for housing and shops, reconstruction, furniture, etc.ABA offers some of the most competitive interest rates in the market. They vary from 8.25-9% for US Dollar, 7.75-8.25 % for Euro, and 9-9.5% for LEK. Mortgage loans can be granted for a term up to 20 years, meanwhile the customer may choose any other term within this predefined period.Interest is calculated based on the annual interest rate of US Dollar or Euro, according to the Libor or EuroLibor annual rates respectively, over which the Bank applies its spread. The same is valid for the loans in LEK, however the interest rate is calculated summing up the annual interest rate for T-Bills plus the Bank's spread, which changes on an annual basis.(Tirana Times Staff)
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                    [post_content] => VLORA, Sept. 16 - A new vegetable wholesale market was built in the port town of Vlora. It was a $600,000 investment funded from the World Bank. Now on wholesale persons will have much better working conditions offering their products. It is built in town suburbs on 14,500 square meters with 22 store places, 28 parking places for heavy trucks and a great areas of parking for small cars.
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                    [post_content] => VLORA, Sept. 18 - The yacht port in Orikum Vlora district is the only investment of the kind in Albania. The small port is located just between the Karaburun peninsula and the city of Vlora. It was built b the Italian company "Giorgio Alfo." After the project was approved in 1995 it started to be built a year later in 20 hectares. It is give by concession for 99 years to the company. But in the crazy year of 1997 its work was suspended, though the place was under the protection of a local family living there Ali Bitri. Construction work resumed after 1997 and now one may see an almost complete harbor with two buildings and other infrastructure needed to operate. It is in the last stage of construction. Some yachts have already started to come to the port from other countries. They are left there to be used during summer for which they pay a rent. The port is created as a place of rest for the yacht owners sailing in the Mediterranean. The port is 250 x 156 meters in the sea with a four meter depth. It may accommodate some 650 small yachts and it is expected to increase that number to 1,000. the port has also two three-floor buildings with 57 apartments that have one, two or three bedrooms. Some clients have bought the anchorage place together with an apartment. Another building will be constructed to serve with different shops and also a pool. Scores of yachts came this summer. The ;port also held the Sea Day with some 157 Italians who came on yachts. During those days the tourists visited the tourist spots around in other towns like Berat, Himara, Apolonia, and so on. The port has also all the necessary infrastructure of a border crossing point. Giorgio Alfo, one of the company's shareholders, said they had the full support from the government to complete their investment. "We aim at making the port a modern place," said Alfo. The first stage had asked for a 5 million euro investment.
                    [post_title] =>  Yacht port in Vlora helps tourism development 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Sept. 9 - Minister of Economy, Trade and Energy Genc Ruli held a three-day visit to Israel aiming at intensification and stronger cooperation with businesses there. Ruli was accompanied by a considerable number of Albanian businessmen. In the meeting with his Israeli counterpart Eli Yishai they discussed on possibilities of economic cooperation between the two countries and agreed to create a working team to define the spheres of interest. Israeli officials plan to open a fair in Tirana in order to introduce their potential and experience of the new technology in different industries.
Ruli also took part at a seminar organized by the Israeli Institute of Exports where he spoke about the government's reforms and policies, especially the 'Albania, 1 euro' project. He explained to the Israeli businessmen the facilitates that would be created to them if they decided to invest in Albania. The minister invited them to invest in Albanian sectors of energy, oil, and telecommunication. "The Albanian government has focused on the modernizing reforms in general and the economic ones in particular. The country needs investment in infrastructure like the roads, energy, telecommunication and that is why we are very much interested in attracting foreign investment," said Ruli. The young labor force, tourism, agroindustry, chromium industry, privatization of the energy sectors were some of the main directions offered tot he Israeli businesses. Israeli businessmen will come to visit Tirana in October. (Tirana Times Staff)
                    [post_title] =>  Ruli visits Israel 
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                    [post_content] => DURRES, Sept. 12 - The Albanian customs authorities blocked Monday in the western port city of Durres 21 tons of meat shipped from Germany to be imported in Macedonia, the Agriculture Ministry reported. According to the Albanian Customs Administration, the pork shipment was withheld upon decision of the Albanian Agriculture Ministry because of the lack of appropriate documentation of the German veterinary inspection authorities on the meat fitness. The shipment was destined for Macedonian "Astra Trade Igor" company based in Skopje but the meat was destined to Bitola town upon transiting Albania. The Albanian Government has adopted a strict legislation relating inspection controls of the meat imported to Albania and the same regulation is applied to the transiting shipments.
                    [post_title] =>  21 tons of meat for Macedonia blocked in Durres 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Sept. 9 - Officials of the Albanian power corporation KESHsaid that a considerable number of power meters were installed in many areas countrywide. Only in Korca district, also covering Pogradec, Bilisht and Erseke in southeast Albania they had installed 4,500, which is some 55-60 percent of what they should do, according to Enjti Pazaj. He added that more work was being done to repair and prepare the equipment for a better supply this winter. Arben Guga in Gjirokastra and Tepelena said that some 90 percent of the individual consumers and 110 percent of the private companies had paid the bill in August, while losses were only 23 percent. He said that by the end of November all consumers would be supplied with power meters. In Elbasan there were paid 93 percent of the bills and the looses were 20 percent, according to Artan Topi.
                    [post_title] =>  KESH installs power meters 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Sept. 14 - Agriculture Minister Jemin Gjana said that authorities had supported the creation and management of 210 associations of farmers. This year saw an increase of the agriculture production like two percent more for vegetables, 17 percent for fruits, 14 percent for grapes, eight percent for olives, two percent for milk, six percent for meat products and 13 percent for agro-processing. Gjana said there were planted 391,000 new trees, 54,000 fruit trees, 171,000 olives and 400 hectares of grape. "This year we shall have a strategy and a plan of action for the development of agriculture. They will mark important steps in orienting agriculture toward the market and increase of its products," he said.
                    [post_title] =>  Agriculture ministry supports domestic production 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Sept. 14 - Economist Conferences, a global conference provider that is part of The Economist Group, publisher of The Economist, launched Thursday a government round-table in Tirana bringing together the key players from business and government to debate Albania's future. Nenad Pacek, Director, Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) CEEMEA and conference chairman commented that; "Companies that have dedicated resources in Albania are finding that sales levels are higher than expected. Albania is one of the last Central Eastern Europe frontiers for business growth." 
The international interest in Albania has been confirmed by Economist Conferences with a number of International delegate registrations received to date. Participants were from a variety of industry segments; manufacturing, FMCG, IT and services. It is a signal that Albania is on the radar screen of regional business. Richard Eames, Senior Economist, Economist Intelligence Unit added that "Albania is a complex market, with many challenges in the operational environment. The Government has many challenges ahead in order to provide businesses with an operating environment in which they can thrive." 
The conference coincides very well with the 'Albania, 1 euro' project presented by the Albanian Prime minister Sali Berisha. The prime minister said that he would soon present to the parliament the project. Berisha guaranteed foreign investors that Albania was a very secure country. Answering to the questions on the political developments Berisha repeated that dialogue would be a good way out of the recent political squabbling. He insisted that he has appealed to the opposition to sit down and apply the last deal on the electoral reform. "We have undertaken a fiscal revolution with the only goal of installing flat tax with the lowest level in Europe," he told businessmen, reminding them that the 1 euro project would offer them land, the possibility to open banks, build hydropower stations or mines with just one euro.
Albanian businessmen also asked Berisha that there should be no discrimination between the domestic and foreign investors in the application of the project. "We remind the government to take into consideration domestic business," said Albanian businessman Edmond Leka.
Albanian Finance Minister Ridvan Bode was also among ther speakers at the forum. Bode mentioned the sustainability of the macroeconomic indicators in the country for many years. He also noted his government's last results in collecting more taxes and registering more businesses along the efforts to wipe out informal economy in the country. "Domination over informality and corruptive abuse remains an open challenge," he said. 
Economist Conferences organizes open and independent events to provide an impartial platform for discussion between business and government - the Albanian Round-table will be no exception. Since 1956, Economist Conferences has held these exclusive events on four continents, in both emerging and developed economies. Government Roundtables are deliberately informal. To foster a climate of openness and frank debate, most discussions are firmly off-the-record. Participants will benefit from insights into Albania, benchmarking with other markets in the region and discussing issues that will be the key to Albania's transformation.
Some of the issues discussed included: What are the ground-level realities of doing business in Albania? Where will the government focus its energies? What are the government's spending priorities and financial plans? How can policy-makers make Albania more attractive to international business? Is there a timetable for Albania's eventual accession to the EU?
The opposition, on the other hand, responded negatively to the 1 euro project calling it a fake show from the government. Speaking at a plenary session in parliament Dritan Prifti of the Socialist Movement for Integration considered it a "non-transparent step, confusing one open to abuse. Albania is threatened from a great danger: not less than 25 percent of its territory may be granted."

'Albania 1 euro' project proposal to be ready by end of month
Prime Minister Sali Berisha said when speaking to participants of the conference that his government would make ready the project proposal for the 'Albania 1 euro' project by the end of the month. Berisha said the package which is being prepared will include the entire 1 euro contract, offering by concession from 50 years to 99 years not only the land, but also industries, mines, power stations that may be built, banking sector, and so on.

Albania to get U.S. money for fight against corruption, fiscal evasion
In the context of the fight against corruption Berisha also said that the Millennium agreement with the Untied States would be signed Friday. The agreement will offer to Albania 13.4 million dollars which will be used in different projects to update the administration capacities, and a special attention will be paid to the ways how to fight money laundry, informal business and corruption. 

Property ownership
One of the key elements where the Albanian government will insist to have successful result in the near future is the property titles, according to Prime Minister Sali Berisha. "The fight against informality and extra legality are the two main directions of the government," he told participants. Albania has undertaken the legalization process this summer. The government has also asked for international counseling on the issue. "Very soon Albania will be a country with clear and safe property titles though even at this moment there is no obstacle for foreign investors," said Berisha.

Albania and internet
'Albania in the internet age' is the last initiative launched by Berisha at the Economist Conference meeting. "Albania will soon overcome big problems inherited at the IT and we have already established links with Microsoft," he said. Microsoft manager participating at the conference, Silviu Hotaran, spoke about the possibilities of developing the IT service in Albania pleased with the government support. He offered access to the technology of the world giants in the sector.

Albania soon with a flat tax
Albania would soon have a flat tax, the lowest in Europe, according to Berisha. "We are working to install a new mode based on fiscal performance. We had 30 percent more revenue this year," said Berisha, adding that was achieved through better tax administration, tax cut, lower social insurance payment, lifting taxes for the machinery and other steps. The flat tax model will be conducted in two stages. The first will lower tax level to that of the region and after 18 months it will be further down. Berisha added, however, they had agreed with the International Monetary Fund not to have any tax cut until mid-2007 in order to check the fiscal performance.

Vlora power station to start soon
Prime Minister Sali Berisha said that the government was working fast enough toward new resources and alternatives of energy, even with private investment. Berisha said that the new power station in Vlora would start to be built by the end of autumn and a series of smaller hydropower stations would be given by concession. He also highly evaluated a liquid gas supplied power station in Fier funded and generally managed by a Swiss group.

IMF: Albania becoming interesting country for investment
The IMF official Istvan Szekely, who is on a mission to the country to evaluate the 2007 budget with the government, said at the Economist Conferences roundtable that "Albania is becoming an interesting country for investment." "There is progress and we are pleased with the application of reforms undertaken from the government and prime minister," he said. The IMF official highly evaluated the improvement of administration of the fiscal sectors but he repeated what he said a day earlier that the government should install equal opportunities to the domestic business like those for the international investors.
                    [post_title] =>  Albania, a Place for Investment 
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                    [ID] => 100208
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Sept. 13 - An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission led by Istvan P. Szekely held a four-day visit to Albania Sept. 11-14 to discuss with the Albanian executive the 2007 budget. The mission met with prime minister, minister of finance, Bank of Albania Governor, members of parliament, advisers to the prime minister and other senior government officials, as well as with representative of the international community and media, according to a statement. The mission and the government reached broad agreement on the key parameters for the 2007 budget,m including net domestic borrowing, the overall cash balance, revenue projections, and priority spending areas, as well as on the macroeconomic and fiscal policy assumptions. Revenue projections for 2007 will be based on the 2006 projected outcome and will not include future improvements in revenue administration. As in 2006 any extra revenue from further improvements in administration and proceeds from any strategic privatization that might materialize in 2007 can be allocated in a supplementary budget. In the second half of 2007 tax reduction policy initiatives might be undertaken at a measured pace in order to ensure the sustainability of the revenue improvements achieved so far, based on any extra revenue collected. The priority spending areas remained health, education and infrastructure investment. The 2007 budget will also set aside sufficient funds for capital maintenance in order to safeguard investment already made. Budget contingencies will be on the same scale as this year. Such contingent expenditures,which will be assigned for wage increases in the health and education sectors and pension increases, will be released on a quarterly basis in accordance with revenue performance. To further safeguard the proper execution of the budget, cash management will be strengthened and a performance-based bonus-penalty system for allocation of investment will be introduced.
Another IMF review mission will visit Tirana Oct. 25-Nov. 6 and it is expected that the second review under the current combined Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility and Extended Fund Facility will be presented to the IMF's Executive Board in Jan. 2007.
The IMF and Albania have signed a deal, which covers the 2006-2008 period. The agreement must be renewed every six months to ensure the government is meeting growth, spending, taxation targets. Albania's gross domestic product is projected to grow 6 percent in 2006.
Finance Minister Ridvan Bode said that the new budget, for the first time presented to the government and parliament this early so that it may take effect Jan. 1 next year, projects $360 million more. Bode, however, could not say whether the government had planned to make further tax cuts as it had promised because some $232 million would cost the tax cuts it had made this year. Then Albania would also start the implementation of the Stabilization and Association Agreement with the European Union, which would low taxes and tariffs and cost the government up to $50 million annually. Bode said they would work to consolidate the already applied policies. Szekely confirmed that saying that the government would first check how its present policy would work. He said the IMF would welcome any suggestions, initiative or other action that would support their basic goal in the country: employment.

'Albania 1 euro' project and IMF
The IMF official formally supported the idea of 'Albania 1 euro' project offered by Prime Minister Sali Berisha but also was cautious in statements on its success. Szekely said they were aware of the project but they were still collecting details on its application. "There's a saying that 'Devil lies in details'," said Szekely, who also cautioned the government that if they wanted to make changes in the tax system they should be for everyone, including domestic businesses, and not only for the foreign investors. If they come single-handedly they might not work, as their experience from work in 180 countries in the world had shown, said Szekely.
                    [post_title] =>  IMF discusses 2007 budget with Albanian government  
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            [post_content] => GJIROKASTRA, Sept. 19 - Gjirokastra officials passed Tuesday a project of the Swiss company EGL to supply liquid gas. EGL's manager Gert Moser said that the project would make possible the construction of the TAP project and link eastern with western Europe. This project would pass in three countries _ Greece, Albania and Italy for some hundreds of kilometers. In Albania it will be some 200 kilometers out of its total of 500 kilometers. Moser said that the investment would be some 600 million euro. The trans-Adriatic trace and the terminal of the liquid gas in the Albanian territory will ask for some 250 million euro investment and it will employ some 300 persons during construction and 80 when it is completed, according to Moser. All the line will be put 1.5 meter under the earth and there will be a secure environment.
            [post_title] =>  Gjirokastra passes a project of a gas supplier 
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