Albania – Small Businesses Shut Down in Protest of New VAT Tax

Tirana, Apr 10 (Tirana Echo) – Albania’s small businesses have closed down today in protest of a newly introduced measure which obliges them to be included in the national VAT scheme.

Most of the family owned shops across Albania today shut down their doors for an hour in protest of their new measures taken by the socialist government of Edi Rama, including them in the Value Added Tax (VAT) national scheme. Shop owners say the new measure will result in higher prices and subsequently less business for them. Opposition parties supported the protest, although in certain shops opposition MPs were refused entry.

Talking to roundtable of business owners yesterday, Democratic Party chairman Lulzim Basha said: “Stand up, refuse it, shut down your doors, boycott the VAT scheme in all forms and manners. Hundreds and thousands of people across Albania will force this criminal government down. Today we are on your side.

Last week the opposition called for civil disobedience and blocked Albania’s main highways for several hours.

However, Albania’s Finance minister Arben Ahmetaj said the new measure introduced on April 1st will not affect prices.

The opposition seeks to stir up Albania’s political milieu. We will show this month that this was the right measure to be taken. I invite anyone to demonstrate what prices have risen across our local neighborhoods since April 1st,’ said a defiant Ahmetaj.

Starting from the 1st of April, over 11,000 small business whose annual turnover is more than 2 million lekë, are obliged to be involved in the VAT scheme. The government has currently postpoed any punitive measures to the end of the year, giving shop keepers a last chance to correctly declare their turnover and profit.

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