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World Bank Supports Government Efforts to Reform Land Administration and Management
WASHINGTON, February 22, 2007 – The World Bank today approved a US$34.96 million Land Administration and Management Project for Albania. The project will support the Government’s efforts to facilitate the development of an efficient land and property market by enhancing tenure security and improving land administration and management services.
Albania has carried out land and property administration reform since early transition in 1991 and substantial progress has been made in ownership transfer and recognition of property rights. Despite this progress, however, land management in Albania continues to face significant challenges. Land and property rights are not fully secure, and there is a need to transform the Immovable Property Registration Office into an efficient, transparent and effective organization. Rapid urbanization in absence of sound policy and enforcement of laws is considered a major threat to sustainable urban development in the country. Further, local authorities often do not have the capacity or the financial resources to undertake many functions of urban land management. This project aims to address all these challenges.
“Secure property rights along with an efficient and transparent land management regime are fundamental for creating well functioning land and property markets in Albania. These in turn, provide incentives for local and international businesses, households and individuals to invest in land and properties. Furthermore, secure property rights, proper land management and development control systems are enabling factors in improving investment climate, urban management, natural resources management, and in promoting good governance”, said Wael Zakout, head of the World Bank team designing the project.
The project will focus on the three main areas necessary to promote the development of an efficient land and property market: (i) improving the security of land tenure; (ii) strengthening local government capacity to develop and enforce land use plans; and (iii) supporting the development of a property taxation function.
By the time the project is completed, it is expected that the average time to register property transaction will be reduced from 47 to 10 days, while the average time to issue building permits will drop from six to three months. The annual property tax collection for the participating municipalities is also expected to increase by 10%. Overall, the project seeks to raise the level of confidence in securing property rights in Albania.
The new project is financed through a credit and a loan, blending IDA and IBRD resources for an amount of US$15 million and US$19.96 million, respectively. The total project cost is US$56 million and is co-financed by the participating local governments (US$9.0 million), national government (US$6.0 million), the Swedish SIDA (US$ 5.0 million in grant), and by the Japanese Government (US$1.54 million in grant).
Albania joined the World Bank in 1991. World Bank commitments to the country to date total approximately US$915 million for 63 operations.