The American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham), the German Chamber of Commerce (DIHA), the Italian Chamber of Commerce, Confindustria Albania and French Chamber of Commerce, have issued a joint statement today "to affirm our position on the state of the business environment in Albania".
The five business organizations acknowledge the country’s potential for business and foreign investment due to its strategic location, natural resources, and talented workforce. However, their members consistently rank the business environment as one of the top three challenges to doing business in Albania, and they believe that the current environment is inefficient and requires significant improvement. As an aspirant country for EU membership, the five business organizations call upon the Albanian government, Parliament, and other responsible public agencies to commit to comprehensive economic and investment reforms in the following areas:
Adopt an Investment Strategy led by the highest levels of Government, which includes a reduction of bureaucratic obstacles, the adoption of a rule-based permit issuance system, and the establishment of an attractive incentive system based on investment amount and the creation of new jobs.
Implement an Anti-Corruption package that enforces anti-bribery compliance aligned with OECD standards and ensures transparency in the operations of public agencies. This would significantly raise the confidence of the business community in general and specifically of foreign companies significant investing in Albania.
Enhance the efficiency and credibility of the Public Procurement system by adopting Open Contracting Data Standards in procurement processes, removing ‘special exceptions’ from the procurement of public funds, and increasing access to procurement inquiries and data for journalists and civil society.
Establish an effective Public Consultation process by incorporating enforcement mechanisms into existing legislation and include Decisions of the Council of Ministers into the process. The process should ensure transparency and buy-in from citizens and interest groups.
Modernize the Tax System to reflect international accounting standards (IFRS), reduce unpredictability by introducing new tax laws not more frequently than every four years, and disincentivize the informal economy. This will create a more predictable and stable tax environment, attracting foreign and domestic investment.
"We are encouraged by the possible activation of a new National Economic Council (NEC) and suggest having a special focus on foreign direct investments and be properly regulated by legislation as a formal institution through a joint public-private management mechanism. NEC can serve as a platform for dialogue and cooperation between the public and private sectors to promote economic development and create a more favourable investment climate," the statement reads.
"We believe that the above proposed reforms will create a more conducive business environment in Albania, attract foreign direct investments, and facilitate Albania’s transition to EU and international markets. We stand ready to support the Government of Albania in these efforts and offer our expertise and resources to ensure their successful implementation," the joint statement says.