Prishtinë, February 12, 2018 – Fiscal policies in the country have improved during the last 10 years of independence, compared with the period when Kosovo implemented the legislations from United Nation’s Interim Mission. Despite this, there are many cases left to be handled to further develop the economy in the country which will be based in the private sector’s performance. This was said yesterday during the roundtable organized by the American Chamber of Commerce in Kosovo titled “Fiscal Policies in a 10 year outlook: Lessons for the Future”, where the attendants had the chance to further learn about the development in the future in this field.
Arian Zeka, AmCham Executive Director, said that the American Chamber has been active throughout the years in contributing in tax and customs legislation in the country, mentioning some successful initiatives that helped in improving in doing business. He mentioned the decrease of the corporate tax rate from 20% to 10%, the law on goods exempt from custom duties, although incomplete, and the numerous improvements made after the tax legislation approval in September, 2015. He said that AmCham had expected that these improvements would be made quicker, calling into institutions not to stop in taking actions in further increasing the private sector’s competitiveness.
Bedri Hamza, Minsiter of Finance, said that the Government of Kosovo is committed in creating the necessary preconditions to develop the private sector. Generally, Minister Hamza said that Kosovo has a simple tax system with bearable rates, which make Kosovo a suitable country for investments. He explained that the fiscal measures approved recently aim in increasing the competitiveness in the production sector, and are the continuation of the policies started from the previous government. About the steps to be undertaken in the future, Hamza said that they plan on completing all the tax legislations in the country in addressing the challenges that they have faced while implementing them.
Mimoza Kusari-Lila, Member of Kosovo’s Parliament, mentioned that the fiscal policies are the crucial point in a country’s socio-economic policy, and estimated that these policies help in equalizing the competitiveness of Kosovo producers with regional producers. Kusari-Lila also mentioned the fact of not creating the free economic zones which has been one of the biggest losses of Kosovo in attracting foreign direct investments.
Avdullahi Hoti, Member of Kosovo’s Parliament, also estimated the development made in the fiscal environment during 3 different periods since independence. He expressed his gratitude for the Ministry of Finance which has continued the reforms already started from the previous government, and called for the Minsiter of Finance to have a conservative access in the future, especially in the social policies which are expected to dominate the public discourse in the future.
Bahri Berisha, Director of Kosovo Customs, explained that Kosovo Customs’ duty is to implement the decisions made by the Government and the relevant institutions. He mentioned that, despite the challenges faced in the new fiscal measures at the beginning of the year, Customs has started to fully implement the new fiscal measures which will have a positive impact in producer companies. He confirmed that Kosovo Customs will continue to help businesses in the aspect of customs procedures.
Gojart Kelmendi, EuroKosova representative, expressed his gratitude for the new fiscal measures, explaining the positive impact that they wil have in his business. He mentioned that these policies have not been helpful for the production sector in the years after the independence, taking into consideration that VAT and Customs obligations had to be paid in the borders as well. While mentioning the fact that the new fiscal measures are expected to help the competitiveness of the local producers, he added that institutions should draft policies in the future that directly aim in urging exports.
Further on, the attendants in the roundtable had the chance to share their opinions in the development of the fiscal environment in the country during its 10 years of independence, mentioning that institutions should not end their attempts in creating a better business environment, this being the best way of further developing the economy based in the private sector.