Support for small business 

As difficult as the COVID-19 pandemic period has been for everyone, small business is breathing freely and relieved thanks to the government’s relief packages, and introduction of zero profit tax and VAT. This is demonstrated by many small businesses in the city of Berat, which expect to see the number of local visitors and international tourists to the museum city grow this summer.

Prime Minister Edi Rama, accompanied by the Minister of Tourism and Environment Blendi Klosi, and the Mayor of Berat Ervin Demo, today visited several small businesses in Berat.

“Despite this challenging pandemic year, we are still doing great. We haven’t fired any of our staff members,” the manager of a pastry shop said, acknowledging that government has provided significant support to businesses during the tough lockdown period.

“You will resist at any cost and we have provided support for you to succeed,” the government head said during conversation with the business owner. “You no longer pay profit tax and VAT and the money you had to pay in taxes now end up in your household coffers. I hope we will soon receive good news about more COVID-19 vaccine doses so that we can speed up the process by administering the vaccine doses to as many people as possible and make utmost efforts to make sure that a large part of Albania be freed from the infection nightmare by summer. All it takes is just patience and courage,” PM Rama went on saying.

Berat Mayor Ervin Demo said that the relief measures have had very positive impact on small business, adding that taking notice of the progress in the vaccination drive he expects tourism will grow in the second half of this year. He said that tourism is vital for success of the local economy in Berat.

The next stop was a household appliances store. “We are really pleased with the support and incentives provided by the government,” the store owner said, adding that the decision to scrap taxes for small businesses came at the right time.

In the meantime, the owner of one of the most renowned small bakery businesses in the city said that thanks to the relief measures he managed to avoid layoffs. “We are very pleased with the government’s measures, especially with the decision to remove VAT for small businesses. Prior to that decision, we were about to fire three or fire workers, as we couldn’t afford employing many people. The VAT removal helped us a lot and offered us the opportunity to call them back to work,” he said.

“Our plan is to maintain a zero tax rate and zero VAT for small businesses until 2029,” the Premier said, adding: “Our challenge is to accelerate the vaccination tempo. All doctors and nurses will be vaccinated within second half of March. In the meantime, we plan to commence the mass vaccination of all people, starting with the older ones, as well as teachers and policemen so that the tourism season resumes normally and we can breathe freely.”