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Mr. Rohan D’SOUZA – Country Manager of Shell Upstream Albania

July 23, 2018
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“Shell wants to assist building a thriving energy industry in partnership with the Albanian Government”

FIAA: What is your role and background?

Mr. D’Souza: Earlier this year, I was delighted to be appointed as the Country Chairman and Commercial Manager for Shell’s activities in Albania. I have previously lived and worked in numerous countries around the world including in Africa, Asia and Australia across nearly all of Shell’s business’s: Upstream, Integrated Gas, and Downstream.

What are your impressions of Albania?

I was thrilled at what a beautiful and pleasant country Albania is to live in. The country has incredible natural beauty that will undoubtedly make Albania a tourist haven. But perhaps the most notable thing is the positive transformation we see in Tirana itself – improving infrastructure and a thriving atmosphere. From a Shell perspective, we are also committed to the development of this beautiful country.

What is Shell’s upstream project in Albania?

Shell is currently appraising an oil and gas prospect called Shpirag near the city of Berat. We operate under a contract with the Albanian government. As a part of that Shell puts significant amounts of dollars upfront to fund the exploration and development – with significant risk to Shell as it is exploration after all. In the chance that we are successful, the benefit is then significantly shared with the Albanian Government.

How is your working relationship with the Government?

We are delighted by the very close partnership we have with the government and the support the government gives to our development. Our partnership however is more than just sharing profits in a successful exploration effort. We as Shell want to assist build a thriving energy industry in partnership with the government.

What are your expectations from the Albanian Government in their mission to improve the business climate further?

Wherever we do business our guiding values are: honesty, integrity and respect to people. These are principles we also apply in our work with the government of Albania and I am looking forward to progressing further our working relationship in the future.

I would like to emphasize that we also speak to other foreign investors. As an Anglo-Dutch company we in particular talk to British and Dutch companies who are thinking about investing in Albania and who see our example of how contracts and business can be successfully progressed. We hope that this example encourages further investment in country.

How else does Shell support local communities?

Across our operations we invest in projects that benefit communities. We aim to make our social investment projects beneficial to the nearby society in measurable ways and to be sustainable beyond Shell’s involvement. Where possible, and when it makes economic sense, we buy goods and services from local suppliers and provide support to develop local businesses and skills. In Albania, we focus on four main things: Education and Vocational training, Road Safety, Health and Support for developing SME businesses. We are thankful of the warm welcome we get from our local communities and look forward to continuing to grow together.

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FIAA Actions Strategy

June 30, 2018
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FIAA Board has been recently working on the preparation of an Actions Strategy focusing on the main objectives FIAA will carry during 2018 and further. The Board  agreed working towards the following objectives:

  1. Enhance the credibility of FIAA at the Government
  2. Be the first point of contact for potential foreign investors
  3. Augment the quality of the support to all
  4. Increase number and contributions of members
  5. Deliver progress at least in one of the “Working Groups” and in areas of specific interest to its members
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Workshop on Raw Materials transactions from State-Owned Companies / Commodity Trading

June 30, 2018
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In June 29th, FIAA Representatives in the Multi-Stakeholders Group at the Albanian EITI Secretariat were present in the Workshop for the presentation of a Transparency Assessment prepared by Deloitte Audit Albania in accordance with the EITI Standards requirements for the Albanian Oil Sector.

This Assessment was carried out due to the initiative of the International Secretariat in Oslo which invited Albania to be part of a Pilot Project for Commodity Trading.

The oil sector has historically been one of the strategic importance sectors and an important contributor to the country’s economic development with considerable reserves. The EITI requirement seeks to provide the necessary transparency, on how much State-Owned Companies in EITI countries benefit from  volumes sold and revenues received from oil, gas and minerals and how much these revenues are transferred to the state budget.

In this sector, Albpetrol sh.a. is the only joint stock company with 100% of shares owned by the Albanian state. The main role of the company is the production and trading of petroleum products and the monitoring of Petroleum Agreements.

The main purpose of this Report is to Review and identify the transparency gaps in the crude oil trading value chain, in consultation with the Albanian EITI, the MSG and the responsible government institutions; Ensure the capacity building of MSG and Albania EITI for transparency in the trading of crude oil; Produce a Final Report on Crude Oil Trading that addresses identified gaps and relevant recommendations.

This Report analyzes the new EITI International requirements for transparency in the oil and gas trading process from producing countries, by verifying the viability of EITI 26 Guidelines for the first Sales.

 

For more information please visit: http://www.albeiti.org/workshop-per-transaksionet-e-lendeve-te-para-nga-shoqerite-me-kapital-shteteror-commodity-trading-2/


 

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Consultation Meeting with Ministry of Economy and Finance on the New Fiscal Package proposals

June 20, 2018
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On June 2018 the Ministry of Economy and Finance had started a presentation and consultation process of the New Fiscal Package 2019 part of which will be applicable from this year. In this ambit, FIAA was asked for a discussion round table with the Deputy Minister of Ministry of Economy and Finance Mrs. Albana Shkurta. FIAA representatives present in the discussion among others, proposed legal amendments respectively for the Draft Laws on Income Tax, VAT on Agri-tourism and Local Taxes. FIAA proposals were officially sent to the Ministry and will be active during the second part of the year for the consultation of other laws and relevant amendments which should be in focus of the coming Fiscal Package.

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INVESTMENT COUNCIL – FOR A SIMPLIFIED LEGAL FRAMEWORK ‘ON INVESTMENTS’

June 19, 2018
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Tirana, June 2018. Investment Council (IC) held a special meeting chaired by the Minister of Finance and Economy, Mr. Arben Ahmetaj, and with the participation of EBRD Vice President, Mr Alain Pilloux. In this meeting FIAA was represented by the Deputy Chair Mr. Turker Sengonul. The agenda focus was the ‘Legal Framework on Investments in Albania’ aiming to discuss on how to motivate and easily apply the current legal framework on investments, and to facilitate the process of drafting a simplified legal framework which can retain and attract new investments. This subject comes also in the context of the integration processes of the country to the EU and at a regional level, with the Regional Economic Agenda (REA). A REA component is also the Regional Investment Reform Agenda (RIRA), which inter alia aims also an alignment of the legal and regulatory framework in the country with the best international practices.

For more information please visit: https://www.investment.com.al/investment-council-for-a-simplified-legal-framework-on-investments/

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EBRD and partners support key transport links in Albania

June 18, 2018
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European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), European Union (EU)  and its partners are stepping up their support for strategic transport links in Albania. The Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF) has made available up to €35.5 million in grants to complement an EBRD loan of up to €36.9 million.

A signing ceremony in Tirana was attended by Damian Gjiknuri, Minister of Infrastructure and Energy and Erjon Luci, Deputy Minister of Finance and Economy on behalf of the Albanian Government, Christian Danielsson, Director General for Enlargement, DG NEAR, European Commission and Matteo Colangeli, EBRD’s head of Tirana office.

The WBIF is a joint initiative of the European Commission, international financial institutions, bilateral donors and beneficiary governments to support strategic investments in energy, environment, social and transport sectors in the region.

 

For more information please visit: https://www.ebrd.com/news/2018/ebrd-and-partners-support-key-transport-links-in-albania.html

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FIAA cooperates with Energy Charter Secretariat on the EIRA (Energy Investment Risk Assessment) Report

May 30, 2018
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The Energy Charter Secretariat based in Brussels, an intergovernmental organization administering the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT- a multilateral energy agreement comprising more than 50 countries and 40 observers), at the request of the Energy Charter Conference conducted a pilot project in 2017 which established the foundation for a flagship publication on Energy Investment Risk Assessment (EIRA). The EIRA is a distinct publication which aims at assessing specific policy, regulatory and legal risks concerning foreign and domestic investment in the energy sector of different countries. The ultimate goal is to have an annual publication with a global reach which countries can use to improve the investment climate and investors can take informed decisions on establishing an investment in the host country.

In this frame, because of FIAA’s active role in the energy sector of the country, the Secretariat believes that our participation and contribution to the EIRA project would be highly advantageous to bring attention to the challenges faced by the business and investor communities and it would contribute to reducing the investment risk in the energy sector in the country. FIAA will contribute to development of the country profile of Albania in the new EIRA publication, planned for release in autumn 2018 as peer Reviewer. Other players involved will be the relevant ministries and other public authorities involved in the energy sector of the country. Moreover, three external parties in Albania are participating and filling-in the Secretariat questionnaire, including a number of questions related to legal, regulatory and policy risks.

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FIAA members met with Ministry of Agriculture Representatives

May 15, 2018
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May 2018/ Tirana. Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of Albania organized a meeting with representatives of foreign businesses in Albania to introduce IPARD II – EU fund for Albanian agri-processing businesses, 2014-2020 along with other available opportunities in the agriculture.

IPARD II consists in the financing of 71 million euro fund to be used for investment in the territory of Albania. Investments may be movable or immovable and the grant scheme will be supporting only investments and costs to be implemented after the signing of the Grant Contract. Investments must comply with Minimal National Standards and EU Standards related respectively to: Environment Protection, Animal Health, Alimentary Safety and Quality etc.  Investments in the first measure will be focused in the sectors of Milk Production, Meat Production, Fruits and Vegetables Production and vineyards. Applicants may be individual farmers, physic or legal persons and agricultural joint companies, start up businesses.

 

For more information about the Program of IPARD II please visit: http://www.bujqesia.gov.al/programi-ipard-ii-2014-2020/

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Presentation of EBRD Transition Report on Albania 2018

April 30, 2018
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April, 2018/Tirana. The Bank of Albania and the EBRD launched the EBRD Transition Report 2017-2018, EBRD’s annual update on reform progress and economic developments across 37 countries from Central Europe to Central Asia and the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean.

According to the Report, Albania’s economy grew in line with comparators pre-crisis, but lagged behind post-crisis until recently. The report – Supporting growth– focuses on the challenge of keeping progress with reference to the experience of average incomes economies. The report also presents the continuity of the structural reform and a new evaluation of the regional countries progress conducted by EBRD based on their transition to sustainable economies.

Priorities for Albania in 2018:

EU-oriented reforms should be stepped up. It is critical that the momentum in the EU approximation is preserved and accelerated, especially in public administration reform and rule of law.

Further business environment reforms are needed. The campaign against informality has yielded important results but extra efforts are needed to tackle deep-rooted problems such as getting electricity, registering property and enforcing contracts.

The reform momentum in the power sector should be accelerated. Further improvements in governance and operational practices of SOEs in the power sector are needed to make their financial position sustainable.

Transition Report 2017-18 in this link: EBRD TR 2017-18 .

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FIAA’s President meets with Ambassador of Japan in Albania

April 28, 2018
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On April 26th 2018, the President of FIAA Mr. Tom Kristian Larsen received in the association premises the Ambassador of Japan in Albania, H.E Mr. Makoto ITO. The purpose of the visit was the presentation of respective Institutions and their role in Albania.  During the meeting it was discussed on the present economy of Albania along with the actual business climate, with particular focus on new foreign investments, cooperation between Albania and Japan and justice reform process. Japan Programs have been a valid supporter to Albania and the newly opened Embassy is expected to have even a bigger role and impact  in the near future.The cooperation between the two countries should further expand. To this regard, H.E Mr. Ito reiterated that FIAA is a strong business organization, supporting investors and a valuable partner for all the foreign representative bodies in Albania.

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