Business community in Albania demands the postponement of progressive tax, Rama: It’s not you who decide

Business community in Albania demands the postponement of progressive tax, Rama: It’s not you who decide

Tirana, December 19, 2013/ Balkan Independent News Agency

Business sector in Albania has demanded for the application of progressive tax not to come into effect on January 1, 2014, like the left wing government has announced, but at a later date. The reaction of the prime minister is resolute: I have never said that the business will decide on the taxes.

Worried businesses gather and come up with a unified positioning

Representatives of the business have held a meeting full of debates and discussions about the new fiscal package. They say that they need more time in order to adapt to the fiscal changes.

The chairman of the Chamber of Commerce of Tirana, Nikolin Jaka launches criticism for both governments, the former one and the current left winged one in power.

“We’re currently experiencing an economic crisis because in 2010 no measures were taken to prevent the effects of the global crisis in our economy”, says Mr. Jaka.

“As a business community, -continues Mr. Jaka. –we have put forward several proposals to the government with the aim of reducing the effects of the crisis”.

The proposals:

  1. The debt that the government owes to the business to be included in the 2014 state budget;
  2. Current 10% tax on profit not to change. The entire flat tax system not to change.
  3. Reimbursement of VAT (Value Added Tax), excises and all other taxes that the state may owe to private enterprises to be paid within a period of 3 months.
  4. VAT, which is currently 20% on all services and products, not to exceed 10% on domestic agricultural and farming products and tourism services.
  5. VAT to be lifted on all machineries which assist the activity of private enterprises.
  6. VAT on urban and interurban transport to be lifted.
  7. Excise on fuel used for urban and interurban transport to be lifted.
  8. A financial fund for the stimulation of women entrepreneurship to be allocated.
  9. A financial fund for newly graduate students to be allocated.

Mr. Jaka says that the new government had sufficient time during this period to present a clear strategy to come out of the crisis and to develop the economy of the country.

According to him, this has been missing “and today we’re facing the urgency of voting a budget, which will be accompanied with this fiscal package. In the current urgent circumstances, this package must be approved immediately for its implementation to start as of January 1, 2014”.

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The chairman of the Chamber of Commerce of Tirana says that the business community has a unified positioning on the enactment of the new fiscal package, by demanding for it to be postponed.

“We are united in our request not to enact the fiscal package on January 1, 2014. We request for 2014 to remain a year of debates and consultancy in order to have a well-thought fiscal package, without negative effects on enterprises and which will help the development of the economy”, says Mr. Jaka.

American Chamber of Commerce says that it expects from the Albanian government to apply concrete measures which will lead to a fall in the level of tax evasion and to demonstrate that Albania is a country where taxes are paid in compliance with the law.

The president of the American Chamber of Business, Mark Crawford, says that the American Chamber of Commerce believes that the new fiscal policy must encourage direct foreign investments and local investments.

“The immediate change of the taxation system, lacking an efficient public debate, may lead to an increase of tax evasion”, says Mr. Crawford.

According to him, the Albanian government must not apply the fiscal package starting from January 1, 2014, but it should allow more time for consultations and implementation of this package.

Mr. Crawford says that due to the deficiencies in the application of tax laws, there must be more time to discuss and implement the new tax laws appropriately.

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The chairman of the British Chamber of Commerce to Tirana (BCC), Zenel Hoxha says that there must be cooperation between the sides. “BCC’s aim is to increase the interest of foreign investors for Albania. We would like to cooperate with the new government on the tax policies”, says Mr. Hoxha.

Rama defies them: The decisions are not taken by the business

The reaction of the prime minister about the joint positioning of the business in Albania has been strong. Mr. Rama declared that he doesn’t intend to be conditioned by the business, assuring the business sector that he will engage in dialogue with it.

“We have never promised that taxes will be decided by the business, but we have promised that we will respectfully talk to the business and we have done this like never before”, said Mr. Rama (photo).

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The debate which is taking place on the 2014 budget has been focused on the new fiscal package. This package was presented to the public in the past few days. All interested parties are focusing on the progressive tax and nobody is dealing with the way that the funds allocated by the new budget will be spent. There are only a few days remaining until the budget is voted in Parliament where the left wing has a significant majority and there are still no concrete plans over the map of investments and priorities for 2014. /ibna/