Albania improves business climate, but yet lags behind regional competitors

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times October 26, 2016 10:23

Albania improves business climate, but yet lags behind regional competitors

TIRANA, Oct. 26 - Albania climbed 32 steps to rank 58th among 190 global economies in the latest Doing Business report to score its best ever ranking, but yet lagged behind some of its key regional competitors offering lower taxes and easier procedures.

Albania's ranking in this year's flagship World Bank report, a reference point in foreign investors' decision-making, was boosted by reforms in dealing with construction permits, getting electricity and paying taxes.

Albania climbed 80 steps to rank 106th on dealing with construction permits by reintroducing the issuance of building permits and streamlining the process of receiving the final inspection and compliance certificate.

Albania’s Constitutional Court lifted a moratorium on issuing construction permits in mid-2015 while authorities have recently starting issuing permits electronically.

Getting electricity also slightly improved as the country sped up the process for obtaining new connections.

Albania also made paying taxes easier by introducing an online system for filing and paying taxes

The country lost some ground in trading across borders, one of its best indicators where it dropped to 24th, from 22nd last year.

"Albania made trading across borders more difficult by introducing mandatory scanning inspections for exports and imports, which increased the time and cost for border compliance," notes the report.

Albania was sandwiched between Chile and Luxembourg in the 2017 Doing Business report but lagged behind neighboring Macedonia (10th), Serbia (47th) and Montenegro (51st). Among other regional EU aspirants, Kosovo ranked 60th, Turkey 69th and Bosnia and Herzegovina 81st.

"Albania and Kosovo launched an Albania-Kosovo Transit Corridor that decreased the export compliance time by 15 hours," says the report.

Protecting minority investors, trading across borders, getting credit and staring a business were Albania's best indicators in this year's Doing Business report. Meanwhile, getting electricity, enforcing contracts and dealing with construction continue ranking Albania out of the top 100 best performers.

Doing Business, a World Bank Group flagship report, covers 190 economies and 10 indicator sets including starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, paying taxes, trading across borders, getting credit, protecting investors, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency.

The high tax burden compared to other regional countries applying flat tax regimes of about 10 percent has emerged as the key concern for doing business in Albania, according to surveys by foreign investor associations in Albania.

Since 2014, the corporate income tax and the withholding tax on dividends, rents and capital gains have increased by 5 percent to 15 percent, making the tax burden in Albania one of the region’s highest and a key concern for foreign and local investors.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times October 26, 2016 10:23