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World Bank encourages initiatives of civil society in improving transparency, reducing informality and unfair competition at the local level

March 2, 2012

TIRANA, March 2, 2012 - Today the World Bank Country Manager Kseniya Lvovksy, together with the Minister of Finance, Ridvan Bode, the Executive Director of British Council in Albania, Aida Berxholi, were with representatives of small business community in Bilisht, municipality of Korça region to participate in the final activity on improving transparency, reducing informality and unfair competition at the local level. This innovative project was supported by the World Bank and British Council under the Development Marketplace Program for better governance and accountability and it was implemented by the Regional Agency for Development in Korça, a local NGO in close cooperation with beneficiaries of Korça, Pogradec, Erseka, Bilisht and Maliq municipalities, Small Business Association, Regional Council and the Regional Tax Department.

The project team presented the main findings and recommendations of their work, highlighting the positive impact of introducing the security stamp as an efficient tool in improving transparency and reducing tax evasion, ensuring licensed and qualitative goods and services for consumers, creating a better environment for small business and fair competition, and fighting corruption.

Kseniya Lvovsky, the World Bank Country Manager highlighted the importance of the partnership between the regional development authority and tax department, municipal administration, and small businesses association, worth to be replicated in other regions of Albania.

Minister Bode appraised the importance of the project implementation and added that the Ministry of Finance will explore the the possibility to include the security stamp in the tax procedures.

While talking about the sustainable results and replication possibilities, Aida Berxholi, Executive Director of the British Council, commended the civil society role in facilitating and giving voice to the concerns of other groups of society.

The participants visited some of the small businesses that have applied the security stamp and discussed with them the benefits of this initiative.