By Silvana Meko and Erald Lamja –
Technical Capacity-Building of New Recruits in the General Department of Property Tax
Property tax reform constitutes a major development in local government finance following the approval of the Local Governance Finance Law. The purpose of this reform is to strengthen municipalities in Albania by substantially increasing their own-source revenue via a market value-based immovable property tax on buildings.
In January 2018, the Ministry of Finance and Economy (MoFE) together with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) initiated work to establish the national fiscal cadaster which will facilitate the implementation of the recently-adopted value-based property tax system on buildings.
The MoFE requested technical assistance from the USAID Planning and Local Governance Project (PLGP) to ensure practical adoption and implementation of the national fiscal cadaster at local levels and to increase the technical capacities of municipal staff, including the newly-recruited staff in the Department of Property Tax (GDPT).
During the first weeks of September, as part of the demand-driven capacity-building activities, PLGP experts developed and provided a comprehensive 3-module training cycle to the new staff of GDPT. The training addressed topics on Local Tax Policy and Administrative issues, including local and fiscal autonomy concepts and practices and property tax collection and enforcement.
Six newly-recruited staff, most without any work experience but with outstanding performance in university studies, were eager and enthusiastic to learn more about property taxation and its relevance with local governance finance issues.
“I consult with USAID training materials all day long,” says Kledia Nakuci, who studied computer science focused economics at University of Tirana and is one of the recent hires. “There is a lot we as a team are learning from the training materials and manuals on local taxation and finance published by USAID.”
The long-overdue shift from area-based taxation to the new system of value-based property taxation on buildings is expected to create $24 million of additional revenue for local governments in the next 1-3 years.
PLGP will continue to provide technical assistance, supporting demand-driven requests from the central and local governments. This will facilitate the implementation of ongoing property tax reforms and improve usage of Information and Communications Technology tools that help local government units enhance revenue collection and financial management and will provide increasingly transparent and responsive services to the community.
Photo by Erald Lamja