1- The ‘not so clean’ invitation to do business in Albania!
Although a month apart, two different attidues are emerging regarding business climate in Albania. Minister Gjiknuri, during a visit in Hague at the beginning of April, meeting the Minister for Economic Affairs Henk Kamp, in the framework of further developing economic relations between the two countries, stopped to talk about measures undertaken by the government to create a friendly business climate for foreigners and Albanians. Minister Gjiknuri emphasized the fact that Albania offers great opportunities thanks to its rich natural reserves and resources. The homologues discussed offers of searching activities for free blocs of oil and gas. Taking into consideration also the positive results of SHELL company and Petromanas in Shpirag.
With the same invitation, Minister Gjiknuri talked to foreign investors participating in the Business Forum, organized by the International Chamber of Commerce of Estonia in Tirana, concentrating on the vision that Albania has the potential to become an improtant energy actor in Southeast Europe. Despite the small energy sector, work is being done to build the infrastructure that connects Albania to other neighboring countries. For this purpose, a new law on energy is expected to pass, serving as a start to liberalize the energy market in the country.
Meanwhile at the end of the month, a meeting of the General Assembly of the American Chamber of Commerce was held, during which the Business Index of Am Xham was introduced. The index measures 27 indicators related to business climate, economic performance, government reforms and policies, the relationship between tax and customs administration, ministries and local governance, tax system, order and security, the domestic political climate and the performance of businesses as request for their products and services, investments, employment etc. Although Albania marked an increase of 2.56 points compared to 2013, the American Ambassador, after congratulating the work done by Minister Ahmetaj and his team to support businesses in the country and their problems, declared that business climate in Albania has not yet reached an optimal level.
Encouragments of the type ‘’we are in the right direction’’, for years now have been patting our shoulders, while the government’s marketing strategy outside the country needs to be verified and monitored. Inviting foreign investors to do business with high levels of taxes, informality and administrative bureaucracy, according to the American Chamber of Commerce, is not welcoming, especially compared to the region. Despite the resources and opportunities, such an invitation remains a dangerous venture. At the end of the day, the government also should do its job by inviting foreign investors as it seems that local ones have exhausted their investing capital or are saving it for difficult days.