TIRANA, October 25, 2016 – Albania made big strides in improving its business environment in key areas of business regulations, according to the Doing Business 2017: Equal Opportunity for All, the World Bank Group’s annual report on the ease of doing business. Albania moved up 32 positions, ranking 58 compared to a ranking of 90 in the previous year. The improvements in the business regulatory environment is captured through various reforms.
During 2015/16 Albania made substantive improvements to its local regulatory framework in three main areas. It made dealing with construction permits easier by lifting the moratorium on and reintroducing the issuance of building permits, and by streamlining the process of receiving the final inspection and compliance certificate. Getting electricity was made easier by speeding up the process for obtaining a new connection. Finally, Albania made paying taxes easier by introducing an online system for filing and paying taxes.
On the distance to frontier measure, Albania’s score went up from 61.30 in Doing Business 2016 to 68.90 in Doing Business 2017 thereby improving its business regulations as captured by the Doing Business indicators in absolute terms. The country is now narrowing the gap with the global regulatory frontier.
“The progress achieved in implementing reforms indicates the government’s dedicated commitment to improving the business environment necessary for economic growth and job creation,” said World Bank Country Manager for Albania, Tahseen Sayed. “Similar progress in other areas will help to maintain reform momentum towards creating a world-class business climate”.
Going forward, Albania can further streamline electricity connections, fully implement the online platform for construction permits issuance, further improve the process for property transfers and enhance the efficiency of resolving commercial disputes in the courts. Moreover, trading across boarders can be streamlined to reduce the time and cost for border compliance.
While several countries in Europe and Central Asia are among the top improvers in the Doing Business 2017, in the region, Albania is in 16th place out of the 25 economies, ahead of Kosovo (global rank of 60) and Bosnia and Herzegovina (81), but behind other regional competitors including Croatia (43), Serbia (47), Macedonia (10), and Montenegro (51).
This year’s report includes, for the first time, a gender dimension in three indicators: Starting a Business, Registering Property and Enforcing Contracts. Europe and Central Asia is the only region where there are no barriers against women in the areas measured by the report, and, in every economy in the region, women can start a business in the same way as men.
The report also includes an expansion to the Paying Taxes indicator, which now covers post-filing processes, such as tax audits and VAT refunds. Albania performs quite well in these areas, with a compliance time for VAT refunds at nine hours and a tax audit compliance time of three hours.
The full report and accompanying datasets are available at www.doingbusiness.org
 The distance to frontier score aids in assessing the absolute level of regulatory performance and how it improves over time. This measure shows the distance of each economy to the “frontier,” which represents the best performance observed on each of the indicators across all economies in the Doing Business sample since 2005. This allows users both to see the gap between a particular economy’s performance and the best performance at any point in time and to assess the absolute change in the economy’s regulatory environment over time as measured by Doing Business. An economy’s distance to frontier is reflected on a scale from 0 to 100, where 0 represents the lowest performance and 100 represents the frontier.