5 September 2017, Tirana: Supporting private sector competitiveness by facilitating SME access to finance and by fostering an enabling business environment, Bank of Albania and the EBRD in partnership with ICC Albania and Factor Chain International held a factoring workshop in Tirana this week. Discussions also focused on ways to support domestic and international trade.

In their opening statements, Bank of Albania Deputy Governor, Natasha Ahmetaj, and EBRD Head of Albania, Matteo Colangeli, expressed the importance of factoring as a useful tool for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to access finance that enables their growth and contributes to the development of the Albanian economy.

Secretary General of ICC Albania, Ardita Seknaj, presented at this workshop the results of the survey conducted with banks and factoring companies operating in Albania. She introduced to the regulator, EBRD, FCI and the overall audience related recommendations prepared by ICC Albania Commission on International Trade and Finance on improving the current market environment of providing factoring services in Albania.

Representatives of banks, non-banking financial institutions, law firms, insurance companies and other stakeholders discussed the legal, regulatory and tax framework for factoring in Albania. They also looked at the main challenges that the industry faces in offering factoring services and possible solutions, as well as the considering the role of the EBRD and FCI, the global representative body for factoring, in the development of this financial tool.

Deputy Governor Natasha Ahmetaj said: “Factoring can be a very important tool for the financial sector in Albania, with a high potential for development. For this reason, Bank of Albania and the relevant stakeholders will work together to identify the obstacles to further development of this financial service, having assessed that it may provide more financing than traditional lending, while reducing risks.”

For the EBRD, Matteo Colangeli added: “We would like this workshop to be the first step in our cooperation with the authorities and the business community in removing the bottlenecks that have so far prevented the development of this important financial tool in Albania. In addition to expanding SME access to finance, factoring helps to increase the competitiveness of local enterprises, which is one of the EBRD’s key objectives in Albania. We have been successfully promoting factoring in other countries through the activities of our Trade Facilitation Programme and Legal Transition Programme as well as our investments in financial institutions. We intend to replicate this approach in Albania.”

Ms. Seknaj commented: ICC Albania is committed to work with the industry and other key stakeholders in terms of improving the current supply side of factoring in Albania. We are currently drafting a recommendation paper that we aim to serve as a guide for authorities and institutions such as EBRD and FCI to address the respective issues. However, it should be taken into consideration that factoring is a product mainly leveraged for SMEs. We need to work together on the demand side of factoring as well, by identifying the immediate needs of small and medium businesses and addressing properly any related matter.’’

ICC Albania Commission on International Trade and Finance will finalize the recommendation paper on factoring and share it with related stakeholders during fall.

To view the Presentation of ICC Albania Secretary General, Ms. Ardita Seknaj, at this workshop please click here.