The World Bank published the annual report “Doing Business 2017: Equal opportunities for all”. In this report, Albania marked an improvement in the world ranking.
According to the World Bank Report, the improvement of the business climate led Albania to climb 32 places in the world ranking, from the 90th position last year to the 58th position this year, in a list with 190 countries.
The best business practices score a maximum of 100 points, while Albania scores 68.9 points as opposed to 61.1 points a year ago.
“Improvements in the regulatory business environment reflected the different reforms which have been implemented. During 2015-2016, Albania has made significant improvements in the regulatory framework in three main domains: Construction permits have become easier to be obtained after the lifting of the moratorium. Power supply also became easier to be obtained, by speeding up the process of creating a new account. Meanwhile, the third reform relates to the declaration and the payment of taxes online. “The payment of taxes was facilitated through an online system”, the World Bank report says.
This is not only a significant improvement of 32 places compared to last year, but it is also the best score that Albania has ever had since 2003, when this report was published for the first time by the World Bank.
Among the indicators that the World Bank uses to assess economies, a decision of the Albanian government to scan every product that is imported or exported by the customs has been criticized. This decision slows down the procedures of export/import and has had a negative impact in Albania’s ranking, taking it to the 156th position.
WB: Further reforms are needed
The World Bank says that Albania can further reform in the future power supply connections, fully implement the online platform used to issue construction permits, improve the process of the transfer of property and boost the efficiency of settling disputes in a court. The World Bank also suggests that cross border trade must be reformed in order to cut times and costs of the procedures on the border.
Tahseen Sayed is Permanent Representative of the World Bank in Albania. She says that the progress that has been achieved in the implementation of these reforms shows the commitment of the Albanian government in improving business climate.
Sayed says that the positive business climate is necessary for economic growth and the opening of new jobs.
She also identifies the domains where more work is needed: “There are several critical domains where more work is needed: times and costs of inspections at customs must be cut. It is also important to issue property certificates online. Also, issues that must be addressed include the transfer of properties and the settlement of commercial conflicts in courts.
Albanian government is satisfied with the World Bank report
Albanian Minister of Economy, Milva Ekonomi says that this is a historical ranking for Albania. According to her, the reform confirmed the quality of reforms carried out by the government in order to facilitate doing business.
“The World Bank assessment confirms that the reforms undertaken by the government are moving in the right direction and this encourages foreign investors to come to Albania, as our country is friendly with foreign entrepreneurs”, Ekonomi says.
Ekonomi also comments the fact that the payment of taxes, according to “Doing Business” report has become faster and easier with the start of the payment of taxes online as of 1 January 2015. The total time of the payment was cut by 96 hours. Thus, Albania’s ranking in this indicator has improved by 45 places.
Albania considers it historical, but neighboring FYROM is in a much better position
Albania is ranked 16th out of the 25 countries of the region, leaving behind Kosovo, which ranks 60th and Bosnia and Herzegovina which ranks 81st.
But, the country lags behind FYROM, Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro.
FYROM can be easily considered as a positive example of doing business. In the world ranking it is on the 10th place, while it is on top of the European and Central Asian list.
Neighboring FYROM has very high indicators, leaving behind many important European and world countries. Thus, FYROM is fourth in the world in terms of starting a new business, while Albania is 46th. For the payment of taxes, FYROM is ninth in the world, while Albania is 97th. Many other indicators rank Albania much behind neighboring FYROM.
Experts say that the evaluation of the World Bank through the annual report has a special importance, because it encourages foreign investors to come to Albania. It is a fact that Albania is a friendly country with foreign entrepreneurs.