The Government as Call Center, Rama’s Speech to Business Leaders

Prime Minister Edi Rama yesterday gave a speech to the major businessmen of the country, which had gathered at the Prime Ministry. The core of his speech was the great importance that the government would give business from now one, especially regarding requests and complaints toward the government. The only concrete policy that Prime Minister Rama proposed was to alleviate taxation for four- and five-star hotels in the country.


We will launch a new tourism package, establishing a tax-free system for any investment in tourism that will be certified or operating under one of the global tourism firms. The investment is done without taxes and 10-year operation without taxes.

His speech was populist, full of ordinary language and without any reference to the role of the Prime Minister or the economy itself. In the majority of his speech, he presented ministers as secretaries whose sole job it is to answer the phone for businessmen or respond to their queries. The overall impression was that the government would become a call-center for entrepreneurs:

Every minister will pick up the phone starting with the Minister of Finance, which ought to be at your disposition.

We will see the day that the state stands up in respect for the entrepreneurs, so that they don’t dare not to pick up the phone when a big taxpayer is calling.

When [customs of tax officials] bother an entrepreneur, this is communicated directly to the office of the Prime Minister. And they better think once, twice, five times!

The Prime Minister called customs, tax, and inspectorate officials an “official or so-called official that comes up to you to take bribe,” and said that:

I think that you have an extraordinary experience with the stupidities and with the nonsense required from you when you pass customs; when you have to turn to those agents or whatever they’re called are removed from customs, those with jeans and bags with a belt, that mediate and what do they mediate, with those idiots that mediate the processes between enterprise and the state, and bunch of officiated salesmen in that harbor of Durrës.

Except the taxes and customs that continue of course even the famous customs investigation remains in fact in the barracks and only moves with a very detailed permit to do investigatoins.

The grey police has turned to their barracks to hide from the state structures and go home.

The inspectorates will not give any fine until they are restructures.

Let the people breathe until the restructuring is done, the truth is that the [inspectorates] are gangs that are unleashed in the name of the protection water, forests, pastures, and attack anyone who does some work.

No protected zones, and no you’re smelly, and no you’re music is too loud, and boom boom fine upon fine.

He also advised the businessmen how to deal with state officials:

Give those that wait for those throbbers [customs, tax, and inspectorate officials] the order that [you] don’t have to accept them if they aren’t dressed properly. With jeans, with shirts with a three-headed eagle, and with those Halloween masks they show up with shorts and demand accountability from the largest companies in Albania. When you go to a company you need to check yourself in the mirror.

They’re going there with slippers and put pressure on the largest companies of Albania. And you are forced by those with slippers and bags from which you cannot tell whether they’re carrying guns, cigarettes, or food. We won’t let anything slip by anymore.

Let them fix up this country by cleaning out the river of corruption which in fact for so many years has turned into a big problem.

The Prime Minister finished his speech, stating:

On our expenses we have also provided a cocktail because recently you haven’t had any cocktails because you’ve had financial problems, so you’re invited to join us.