Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Daily life in Tirana

Two small events happened last few days in Tirana. In the first event, I have witnessed when six cops from Municipality and one tax inspector had come to a small coffee/bookstore in which usually I go in the morning. They have ordered the closure of the activity, because the owner have not payed the tax for both activities, so for bookstore and for the coffee. Books comprise a very poor business in Albania. And the bookstore/coffee shop is the only way to survive in such business.
Albanian system of taxation on small businesses is not based on evaluation of earnings of the shop, but by presumed earnings and prefixed tax-bills. So who earn not enough to pay the bills, should cease to operate. You may think that is normal that shops close when they do not pay taxes. Yep, this is normal. But when someone is well informed on tax system of Albania, he will understand that the closure of a very small business like that bookstore, by Mr. Edi Rama's coops, is the most anti-cultural event that I have seen in whole Balkans since the burning of National Library of Sarajevo from Serbian Criminals in 1991. I know, this is a stretched comparison, but I didn't find any think better.
The second small event was that of an crone from rural Tirana in Rruga e Kavajes. The elder was selling some onions and some kilos of sycamores. There were also two rednecks from city's Police, who tried to threaten the elder farmer with the confiscation of its goods because she had created a “business activity”, without paying taxes. Agricultural production of farmers is only 50 euro per capita in Albania. These are not real money, but a evaluation on the market value of what they produce. What they sell in the streets is the only cash revenue for them.

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