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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Albania to renegotiate Albtelecom with Turkish Calik consortium

TIRANA, Sept. 11 – Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha said Monday that authorities would renegotiate the privatization of the sale of state phone company Albtelecom with the Turkish Calik Enerji Telekomunikasyon A.S. consortium after an international audit showed defects in

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Government to spend $180 million for infrastructure in 2007

TIRANA, Sept. 5 – Lulzim Basha, Minister of public affairs, transport and telecommunications, said Tuesday that the government aimed at investing $180 million in infrastructure projects next year.”The Albanian government is drafting the next year budget and also that for

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Albania’s Q2 retail sales go up 28.3 percent y/y

TIRANA, Sept. 5 – Albania’s annual retail sales index rose by 28.3 percent in the second quarter this year according to the National Statistics Institute (INSTAT). The retail sales index in Albania includes various subindices that measure the volume and

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Albania and Kosova posts reach deal

TIRANA, Sept. 4 – The Albanian post and the Kosova’s post signed Monday a memorandum of understanding in an effort to develop and extend their cooperation in the future. The same memoranda have been signed by Albania with counterparts in

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Bank of Albania on financial stability

TIRANA, Sept. 1 – A report of the Bank of Albania mentioned the potential risks which might threaten the stability of the financial system, in particular of the Albanian banking system, in an effort to draw the attention of the

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Sept. 11 - Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha said Monday that authorities would renegotiate the privatization of the sale of state phone company Albtelecom with the Turkish Calik Enerji Telekomunikasyon A.S. consortium after an international audit showed defects in the previous contract. "Ahmet Calik (the Turkish company's president) has shown a clear will to renegotiate," said Berisha, speaking to parliamentarians after a visit to Turkey last week. "It is a general opinion, after the international audit, that the contract should be renegotiated. I hope talks will give a pleasant result for all the sides." The Democratic Party-led government canceled the contract with the Turkish consortium after his party took power in September 2005, claiming irregularities in the sale through an international tender. Calik was awarded the contract earlier that year from the Socialist Party government of former premier Fatos Nano. Berisha's government chose auditors Deloitte Czech Republic to investigate the sale of 76 percent of Albtelecom to the Turkish consortium by Albania's former Socialist government for 120 million euro. Calik Enerji was the only international company that bid for Albtelecom. Ten other companies _ from Slovenia, South Korea, the United States, Kuwait and Ireland _ had expressed interest earlier but did not submit bids. Albtelecom, which the government valued at about 145 million euro in January 2004, is the only fixed-line telephone company in the country and it can also operate a mobile phone network, which is expected to begin services soon. Two mobile phone companies _ AMC and Vodafone _ also operate in the country.
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Sept. 5 - Lulzim Basha, Minister of public affairs, transport and telecommunications, said Tuesday that the government aimed at investing $180 million in infrastructure projects next year."The Albanian government is drafting the next year budget and also that for three years," he said. The government aims at presenting the annual budget this month, earlier than any year in post-communist Albania, so that it starts to be applied Jan. 1. the $180 million investment in infrastructure are from the domestic revenues and also foreign investment. That is double compared to previous budgets.
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Sept. 5 - Albania's annual retail sales index rose by 28.3 percent in the second quarter this year according to the National Statistics Institute (INSTAT). The retail sales index in Albania includes various subindices that measure the volume and value of sales of food, drinks and tobacco products; household equipment; pharmaceutical and cosmetic products; clothing, footwear and leather products; books, newspapers and stationery. Another measures sales and repairs of motor vehicles. The figures include also data for the employment in retail sales and in the sales and repairs of motor vehicles sectors.
                    [post_title] =>  Albania's Q2 retail sales go up 28.3 percent y/y 
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                    [ID] => 100146
                    [post_author] => 68
                    [post_date] => 2006-09-08 02:00:00
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2006-09-08 02:00:00
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Sept. 4 - The Albanian post and the Kosova's post signed Monday a memorandum of understanding in an effort to develop and extend their cooperation in the future. The same memoranda have been signed by Albania with counterparts in Macedonia and Slovenia. The memoranda aim at widening the cooperation in this sphere and also the installation of new technology there.
                    [post_title] =>  Albania and Kosova posts reach deal 
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                    [ID] => 100157
                    [post_author] => 68
                    [post_date] => 2006-09-08 02:00:00
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2006-09-08 02:00:00
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Sept. 1 - A report of the Bank of Albania mentioned the potential risks which might threaten the stability of the financial system, in particular of the Albanian banking system, in an effort to draw the attention of the institutions in the country, of the financial market and its operators, as well as of the public, according to a statment.The Bank of Albania states that the banking system displays satisfactory indicators of liquidity and capitalization at the end of the first semester of 2006. The banking system continues to realize a profitable activity, creating the grounds for its expansion in the future. Credit to economy has maintained its rapid growth rates, although its annual growth rate results to be lower than over 2005. The banking system has further expanded its network throughout the Albanian territory.  
The expansion of the banking system activity and the credit growth are a natural result of enhancement of efficiency in using the financial resources. The rapid expansion in a competitive environment has increased the banks' pressure to operate by the adopted standards, as far as the audit and monitoring systems of their business are concerned. The developments over the first semester 2006 show that the rapid rates of financial resources investments in instruments which provide a higher profitability have led to a further decrease of the capital adequacy rate and the increase of non-performing loans indicators. 
Although these indicators fully comply with the requirements of the supervisory regulative framework, the Bank of Albania requires the commercial banks' governing structures to formulate more rational and balanced development policies and to consolidate the analyzing capacities of the business risks. The Bank of Albania will, in the short-term, take several measures which address the aforementioned issues. These measures relate to amendments to the regulative framework, as well as the enhancement of banking supervision, aiming at maintaining the good capitalization of the banking business and the assets' quality, in particular of credit portfolio. In the long-term, the Bank of Albania believes that the standards of banking business operations will improve upon the adoption of the draft "On banks in the Republic of Albania.". 
The Bank of Albania draws the attention of authorities on the effect the fiscal policy exerts on the liquidity performance in the interbank market. We deem as necessary the enhancement of communication for a broader and duly discussion of issues through the maximal use of formal inter-institutional structures. 
The banking system continues to be well-capitalized and to credit the economy in the country. These positive developments are expected to continue in the future. However, the rapid expansion rate of the banking system activity, under a competitive environment, should be accompanied by a greater attention, with a view to maintain the assets' quality. The Bank of Albania, in cooperation with the commercial banks, will soon take several measures, which aim at smoothing the elements of risk following the rapid expansion of the banking business. 
                    [post_title] =>  Bank of Albania on financial stability 
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            [ID] => 100215
            [post_author] => 68
            [post_date] => 2006-09-15 02:00:00
            [post_date_gmt] => 2006-09-15 02:00:00
            [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 
            [post_excerpt] => 
            [post_status] => publish
            [comment_status] => closed
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            [post_name] => 21-tons-of-meat-for-macedonia-blocked-in-durres_100215
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            [post_modified] => 2006-09-15 02:00:00
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