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Dr. Preçi interview regarding VAT

On October 12, 2017, Zef Preci, Director of the Albanian Center for Economic Research, told BIRN that he endorsed the VAT extension to small businesses because it will influence to informality reduction, but they need time to learn the new practice and calculate the cost. “If the government rushes it, many of these small businesses might either end up bankrupt or just raise the prices of their goods and services”

Meeting with VIP Taxpayer Director

On October 12, 2017 the Chamber of Commerce organized a meeting with their board members, including PBWA and ARA (at the same time NBF member)and other CCI members to discuss with the Enkelejda Pipa, VIP Taxpayers' Director at the General Tax Directorate. In this meeting was also present Ms. Esmeralda Ballesha, CU of NBF.
During the discussion Ms. Pipa stated that the new tax work plan aims reducing (from 30% to 25%) on-site inspections compared to office inspections. They will focus more in informing and communicating with businesses and the performance test for VIP directorate inspectors will have a special importance. 
The businesses that were present at the meeting supported the initiative to reduce VAT thresholds as this will reduce the informality, but it is uncertain whether the threshold will be 2 million as per NBA recommendation (C.C.1).
CU during this discussion emphasized some key topics, which are also NBA recommendations:
-   Tax inspection selections should be based 100% on the risk assessment and be implemented in all regions of Albania (recc. A.A.1 and A.A.2)
-   Organize continuous regional public information panels with business groups to regularly update them on amendment of legal acts and improvement of the tax procedures; (A.B.3)
-   Regarding inspectors’ ethical and professional capacity a performance evaluation should be established and this should include all inspectors (A.F.3). In this way inspectors’ trainings will influence effectively in their professional and ethical growth.

Meeting with the Minister of State for the Protection of Entrepreneurship

On October 11, 2017 PBWA and some of its board members invited Esmeralda Ballesha, NBF CU, to be part of a meeting with the Minister of State for the Protection of Entrepreneurship. During the meeting several topics regarding several business issues, especially female entrepreneurship were tackled.
Mrs. Ballesha was able to briefly present the Forum and NBA, and a copy of the latter was handed to the Minister.
The Minister invited CU to hold another meeting so they could discuss NBF recommendations more specifically. She needed to hear the arguments so she could transmit business community demands to the government.

Esmeralda Ballesha's interview with ORA-NEWS - “Money and Wealth”

On October 11, 2017 Esmeralda Ballesha, Coordination Unit of NBF was invited at Ora News TV program entitled “Money and Wealth” in a one on one discussion. During the interview the agriculture issue was tackled, giving the fact that the Albanian government has placed it, together with tourism sector, as top priorities.  Ms. Ballesha, argued that the government should do something about the tax level as per NBA recommendation, which is also based on the European Directives. Agriculture VAT to be 10% .
The TV program moderator wished that for the implementation of this recommendation the same success as per tourism VAT recommendation implementation .
Taking into account the recent discussion on VAT threshold reduction, Ms. Ballesha insisted and argued why VAT threshold should be 2 million as per NBA recommendation. Therefore the Forum resent the NBA to the Minister of Finance and Economy.
Ms. Ballesha mentioned the recent positive step regarding the PPD as the government is opening new communication bridges with the interested stakeholders and gave an example of the invitation at the hearing session held by the Productive Activity, Trade and Environment Committee in the parliament of Albania.

Participation of Ms. Ballesha to the IC meeting

On October 5, 2017 Ms. Esmeralda Ballesha, Coordination Unit of NBF was invited to the Investment Council's working meeting in which were held consultations on the preliminary findings of the Survey on "Some Investment Climate Aspects". The issues discussed at this meeting were related to Tax Control, VAT Reimbursement, Relations with Tax Administration and Informality. The data that were subject to discussion were gathered by the Investment Council through an online business survey.
During her speech, Mrs. Ballesha congratulated the work done by IC not only in meeting the mission of this Council in dialogue with the business community but also in implementing the NBF recommendation since the Investment Council has not only expanded its activity into the regions of Albania to meet regional actors but they have invited the regional actors in this meeting where the Chairman of Chamber of Commerce Durrës was also present.
During the discussion, Mrs. Ballesha confirmed some of the findings of the survey, which supported those released by the NBA earlier this year (risk-based inspections, increased transparency and information by the tax administration, behavior and professionalism of inspectors, actions on informality, etc.)

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