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I. Economic and Socio Policy Analysis
Economic and socio policy analysis need to be flexibile enough to change and adopt to new circumstances. Increases in employment and labour productivity provide the main link between economic growth and poverty reduction. From the other side the objective of Albania to be part of EU will require to undertake many structural and legislative changes, which will affect both businesses and consumers. Information regarding the effects of such transformation are very important to be monitoried and analysied in order tomake appropriate decission by both public and private institutions.

CRD specialises in linking analysis of transition issues to a policy and programs framework with respect to Albanian Integration in EU. CRD is highly regarded for European policy to candidate countries and its approaches towards European integration.

Relevant expertise include:
Economic and legal framework: [1] the challenges of Albanian businesses during accession period; [2] industrial competitiveness and European policy harmonisation; [3] SMEs in the single market; [4] financial market development and integration.
Enterprise policy: [1] applicability of company and bankruptcy laws; [2] the business environment; [3] enterprise financing; [4] cooperation between businesses, public institutions and consumer association.
Fiscal policy: [1] European tax policy and conditions of competitions; [2] indirect taxation and removal of non-tax barriers; [3] expenditure and budget control policies.
The common labour market: [1] social security and training programmes; [2] workers participation; [3] safety and health at work.

II. Business and Consumer Tendency Surveys
Business and consumer tendency surveys are qualitative economic surveys, intended for short-term economic analysis. While conventional econometric models of the economy perform reasonably well when the economy is on a stable growth trend, their performance is not so good for signalling changes of direction of the economy. European Commission (EC) under a long Joint Harmonized EU Programme develops the methodology for conducting business and consumer surveys for its member states applicable also for countries in transition.

CRD, under a direct guidance and supervision by Business surveys Units of EC DG Economic and Financial Affairs, conducted on September 2001 the first business survey for manufacturing sector including the investment survey. Since then CRD conducts quarterly consecutive surveys in manufacturing and construction sectors, as well as investment surveys every six months. Other surveys, in add hock basis include retail and wholesale trade sector as well as the surveys on financial sector and labour market.

Relevant expertise include:
Carrying out business and consumer surveys. Such expertise includes: [1] preparation of the questionnaires; [2] sample identification; [3] calculation of the results, including aggregation and weighting; [4] presentation of the results; and [5] adjustments of survey results.
The excellent forecast quality. Such premise derives from [1] the nature of business surveys, which are taken with the head of a firm who states also what is going to do in a near future; [2] the regular periodicity of conducting business surveys which allow the match of prediction with reality.
Developing national and sectoring synthetic indicators (confidence indicators). Business and consumer surveys allow building very qualitative indicators in both national and sectoring level.

III. Analysis of SMEs Performance
SMEs are considered to be the driving force behind economic prosperity to transition economies and particularly to Albania case, where large public enterprises are closed down or they are still ineffective. SMEs also provide employment to a large number of people in both urban and rural areas, contributing to social well-being as well. However, the vast majority of these enterprises have their own problems and, secondly, and the most important, comparing with large enterprises, their performance is different. For these reasons SMEs monitoring their performance and measuring factors affecting their activity is very important.

CRD is properly equipped to monitoring and assessing SMEs performance. Combining information gathered by business surveys, CRD might also estimate the impact of SMEs to economic growth, employment, export etc.

Relevant expertise include:
Enterprise assessment and business strategy development for strategic sectors, including market research and prospect for growth.
Assessment of SMEs business climate, including evaluation of business constrains imposed by, [1] policy instability and uncertainty; [2] taxes and regulations; [3] inflation/price instability and the exchange rate; [4] finance; [5] governance, the legal system and corruption, etc.
Measurement of SMEs performance in terms of, employment and job creation, turnover (especially paying attention to exports), value added and labour productivity, and profitability.

IV. Regional Planning and Resource Management
The notion of regional planning and development, aiming at the creation, maintenance and management of localization conditions for economic activities is closely related to a deliberate policy undertaken by official authorities especially at regional level. Government at national level must insure avoiding regional imbalances and maintaining macroeconomic stability. Transition economies and especially countries like Albania, coming from very centralised bureaucratic state, lacks of authority division between central and local authorities and secondly, local authorities are not yet prepared to meet challenges of regional planning in supporting economic activities.

CRD has proper expertise to develop strategies for regional planning and assist national authorities in the integration of environment and natural resources planning into sustainable national, economic and social development.

Relevant expertise include:
Cost and benefits analysis of the use of natural resources, including soil conservation and development of land management programmes.
Assisting local authorities for improving their management capacities, including preparation of territory regulation plans. Preparation of integrated regional development programmes , including assessment of local business capacities and development agro-industrial and eco-tourist projects based on their tradition and local resources.
Assisting local community to develop their capacities in the process of social change directed towards increasing quality of life, self-determination with emphasis on empowerment of the weaker sections of population and development of local NGO community.

V. Institution Strengthening and Formalisation of Economic Activities
In 2002, a study conducted by Harvard University’s scholars on transition or development economies have come under the conclusion that a large share of the economic activity in these countries, sometimes half of more, is done “backstage,” i.e. unrecorded in official statistics. Informal activities tend to overshadow the provision of public goods that are essential for growth, impair effectiveness of macro policy, deter foreign participation, reduce competition in a country and might seriously create distortion in resource use. Corruption could be a factor that encourages new business for going undisclosed to public authorities. Corruption, in turn is related to the weaknesses of institutional capacities and limitations of institutional power for the implementation of new legislation.

In spite of serious consequences of informal activities, in Albania they’re few efforts to understand the scale of development of informal activities, including assessment of informal activities in various markets, i.e. money market, credit and labour market, as well as assessment of factors that encourage informal activities in manufacturing sector, agriculture, construction, services etc.

CRD has expertise capacities to undertake research work on issues such as strengthening institutional capacities, measuring the scale and degree of informal activities, as well as identification of proper costs imposed to businesses by state bureaucrats.

Relevant expertise include:
Measuring the scale of informal activities. Today, economists use various direct and indirect methods to measure the size of the underground economy. Direct approaches include [1] surveys; [2] calculation based on national account system, and [3] estimation based on scrutinized in depth tax auditing. As indirect methods are known [1] money market method (the difference of money in circulation and those in the banks); [2] electricity consumption, and [3] assessment of labour market, which the key method for estimation of informal activities in various sectors of the economy.
Measuring governance corruption, and state capture. This expertise is closely related with business surveys and SMEs performance analysis.
Assessing institutional capacities and capacity building. Institution capacities might be assessed in terms of efficient use of its inputs, as well as qualities and the costs of providing public goods and services. Building capacities by formal and on job training programmes are also very important for enhancing learning in the work environment.

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