Dialogue 2

 

d2utubeDuring this Dialogu 2 we will discussed the outcome of Dialogue 1 regarding Law 65, with the Coordinator of the National Council for Civil Society together with a proposal about possible ways to relate more closely with the work of Social Entrepreneurs in Albania, through performative events and exhibitions.

 

 

18 prill 2017

 | The Art of the Process | # Dialogue 2 |

Valentina Bonizzi

Welcome to dialogue 2. Does anyone have any question why are we here? A small introduction and than we can start. The point is to have a dialog between you and the Minister of Social Welfare. If there is something that we can clarify. I would like to start with your introductions and than we can continue with the conversation.

*

I am a Mmmber of the Social Council of Civil Society. Initially I think before we start the dialogue, we should have an agenda to talk about the law.

Valentina Bonizzi

The agenda is for social entrepreneurs who were here last time, to express the doubts regarding the Law 65, to have a conversation with specialists who work on this law and memebers of the Council for Civil Society, to understand how this law works. You all have the material I have prepared with the feedback of the social enterprises of last time, so we can send them to the Minister. The law isn’t actualised yet and it will not be after the elections, but there are people here that have questions about it.

*

Can you repeat also one time, the reason why we are here, please? I am sure that we are here to discuss about this law, so I think we have the opportunity to change something, or some explanations. Now I talked with the Minister and she said the law is approved. Do we have a chance to change something?

Valentina Bonizzi

That’s why we have invited the representatives of civil society. All things can be changed, if  mountains can move also a law can change. Law is interpretable for nature, so who wrote this law has some reasons and we can have this dialogue in order to understand these reasons.

*

I am a National Coordinator at the Department of Foreign Aid Development at the Prime Minister’s Office and I work in the Civil Society Program. Initially, a distinction must be made between COD and the Prime Minister’s Office which are two different things. Mrs. Valentina based on her status, is building a dialogue between us and you as representatives of social entrepreneurship. The lady represents COD, and I the relevant department at the Prime Minister’s Office covering civil societies and social enterprises. The reason I’m here is to get your comments, to see how we can improve the social business climate. The law is already approved and for the technical part the law is in force for about 6-7 months. What we want is a feedback from you about the situation, what the law looks like, and what are the difficulties you encounter on the ground. I know that the law is not actualized, which means it is not implemented yet because there are no regulations and practical processes how the law is implemented.

*

This is important for the gentleman’s question, that maybe we can not change the law, but some of the regulations can change somehow.

*

The amendments that will be proposed here, may come into sub-legal acts, as it was opened as a case.

*

I come as a representative of the Ministry of Social Welfare and it is not important to start with excuses about how we have come so far. I was told about this meeting, because I do not have much information about COD and how the dialogues are organized. I have been working in this ministry for two months, but I can understand that it is a dialogue between interest groups and civil society, whereby all the opinions that will be given, will go to the Ministry and will deal with all persons who have been writing the law. This way you will get more concrete answers. I am here as a listener and to inform you that the writing of sub-legal acts has started, opinions were taken by all ministries. The Ministry of Justice has turned down all the list of activities and all the disadvantaged groups. However, for these groups is done the direct transposition of a European regulation of 2016-2020. I have the drafts for the draft decisions. The one for the subsidies has been approved by the Ministry of Economy.

*

According to me, the law is witten entirely wrong and has nothing to do with the social entrepreneurship, but with the co-operatives, which we discussed the first time. Last time we were more in number and most were NGOs. Only I was as an individual. We took every part of the law under consideration and wrote each of our discontent. Social entrepreneurship should be divided into 3 categories that are: social business; social enterprise and cooperative. The law does not speak of the first two in principle. As an individual I have been working for and managing a social business for 4 years, so I can not be called a social enterprise. At the same time you say that we have to start a social business with a minimum of 3 employees. If I take a concrete case: I am a girl who sells  postcards and I want all my income to go to orphan children. – Am I not  a social business? – Which is that business on the first day, to be able to hire 3 people?

*

Personally, I have understood the spirit of the law as an opportunity to open new jobs.

*

It can not be undressed by the entrepreneurial talent, as the enterpreneur her/himself comes first, then we can add the social part. I’m the Founder of the Down Syndrome Albania Foundation and we offer therapeutic services for children with Down Syndrome, free of charge to their family members. We are supported by private business donors and not by the state. The DSA Flower Shop, was opened a year ago to raise funds for the foundation and hire young people with Down Syndrome or other limited abilities. The law briefly states: – “Get the foundation you have, than pay the services, and be a social enterprise. The store is registered as an individual (person) and is not registered with NIPT, because it is called economic activity and the income would increase and be taxed with VAT, which is not needed for an organization.

*

There is a law “Accounting Standards for NGOs 2016”, by the Ministry of Finance, which will be applicable for 2017. The state has determined the profit (active surplus). I generate profit, but the fact that I do not distribute and use it, it is no longer called profit. Regarding the legal forms, the state rightly states that if you are a natural person then you are a Society with Limited Responsability and, as a result, if you earn income then you have to be taxed. YAPS has 17 years of social business in Albania and is one of the best cases. Currently there are 85 employees and owns an active surplus of € 1000 in the bank and thus we become donors for the state. The set of standards set by the Ministry of Finance has been specially made for NGOs and there is no disadvantage when going to the tax office. From here begins the social business division from social enterprise. The social business problem is the part how the state helps this business, how it will be and how much it will endure in the market. For me, we need to separate what is social business and what is a social enterprise.

*

I do not think the law just needs to determine the social business relationship with the state, when it gets funding from it. We function as social businesses and I do not have the right to say today that I am a social business, because I get a fine, although I work as social business.

*

You can change from Society with limited responsability to Foundation.

*

Why should I change it? The divisions SB, SE and Cooperative must be made clear.

*

In every country of the world is strictly forbidden for a SB or SE, to function as a Society with Limited Responsability (SLR).

*

We are obliged to register as such. The only form to be created within a day is a natural person, because NGO requires 3 months. SB and SE should be a new designation and should not be related to either NGOs, FIC or SLR. Since the beginning is stated: I am SB and I work for these reasons.

Valentina Bonizzi

We are here to understand that all the things you are saying,  send these points of discussions to the people responsible. – Who are the lawmakers?

The problem is: How is it possible to find a voice for social entrepreneurs to get there, in the sense who represents the social enterprises in Albania. So, if it is possible to find a 3th body that can convey the voice of social enterprises in Albania, to the people who are responsible, or work for civil society. We can record them in this dialogue.

*

 Last time there was the organization “Partners Albania”, who made several meetings for 2 years and they are still working on them.

Valentina Bonizzi

There are many people working on this, Ministry of Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth, Partners Albania, also we are working on this.

*

I’m from the Social Enterprise Forum. We have been working since 2008 with the bill and we can say that the law we have in hand is 80% of the draft law that was written by the forum with the help of specialists. What we are trying to say from the beginning is that the law should not only treat the social part. Therefore law 65 clearly goes to and ends at the Ministry of Social Welfare, but it is not fair because if we talk about entrepreneurship, we are talking about financial entities, and when talking about social, we talk about human capital. As long as we continue to look at each other in the eye and face only the Ministry of Social Welfare, the impact we have is only social, but the action is economic. We are now talking about a European experience. The core of social entrepreneurship is significant, and has two economic and social balances. The law has expressed these criteria and we must say that these economic criteria can not be assessed by the Ministry of Social Welfare, because they are economic like those of any other business. It is, therefore, the law of commercial companies, which had to be seen and to foresee a new form of a company, which is a social enterprise. According to me, there are 3 variants: SB which according to European example can be one with a single partner and when it comes to partner , we are not talking about employees, but it is the person who invests himself. How can we only deal with NGOs and how NGOs are built, what is the goal of NGOs, NGO decision-making bodies such as the General Assembly or the Board in the case of foundations or centers. This body turns into a business partnership and the general assembly turns into a business partnership. Organizations arise over a purpose / principle, at a certain moment and context. The enterprise needs strong bases and at the end of the year it must survive and can not come up with a negative balance. The enterprise is not related to NGOs. Certainly, NGOs receive incentives for an economic activity.

Valentina Bonizzi

 In dialogue 1, social entrepreneurs thought that it wasn’t very clear the definition of social enterprise and social business in Law 65. For example: – Can lawmakers explain this for social entrepreneurs or not?

*

You are proposing, maybe we can make a request to the economic sector and ask them why they think so? Why this law is not part of the economic packages?

Valentina Bonizzi

I think the best is to have a representative for social enterpreses, so we can ask them why they took this decision?

*

We have done this 4 years ago, we have been invited by Vice Minister Genta Mara, at the start of this initiative. I think that this law does not affect either the social enterprise or the figure of the social entrepreneur, but it creates a counterpart for the Ministry. I think they have tried to arrange a part between the Ministry and NGOs that provide social services and legitimize this relationship. I think that the situation of NGOs providing social services is provided by the Ministry and if there is another need it is not possible, also the groups that you help are determined. Earlier with the bill initially sent to the Ministry, we had downloaded all the categories of other European countries. There is only one category that was not in other countries, children isolated due to blood feud. This was something special that was offered only in Albania.

*

I would like to thank the initiator of Law 65, though without financial support and being in the first steps. I conceive my mission as a social opportunity, on the endangered endemic species of this country in all circles. The board of “Bioplant Albania” has disabled persons who try to defend a certain population. It is time for cooperation to highlight the social problems and wounds of this country and are social enterprises, cooperatives and agrotouristic enterprises with all involved layers, but not with great enthusiasm to benefit at the expense of the underprivileged groups of society. We must function as a social business with a social balance and should not be taxed as a physical person, but as missionaries in helping the poor people.

Valentina Bonizzi

We need to understand, if we can have a voice to go to the coordinator of the civil society, and to understand if this is possible. The purpose of the first laboratory, was to gather all the opinions of people and visualize them. And all this must not come from Partners Albania, but from people / social enterprises who work everyday with and for a social cause.

*

The representative of the Albanian-German association of NGOs and for already two years social entrepreneurship of Vision Social Business. The biggest issue is the active excess or profit, which should not go neither to you nor to me, but to a certain cause.

*

Today I am in the capacity of a Civil Society Member. Our mission is to facilitate civil society in financial and well as in  institutional terms. Helping Albania to make mitigation policies for the sector. The idea of social entrepreneurs should be unified and then forwarded to the competent body. And if we agree to write a letter, we can send it to these bodies and become an advocacy for it.

Valentina Bonizzi

Can you explain (Ergis Sefa), how should this letter be built by social entrepreneurs?

*

There is an institutional mechanism for submitting a request to the Council of AMSHHC, then the council formulates a set of recommendations and passes it to the Council of Ministers.

*

Can we try to simulate these models (3 models), so that we can understand how we should function?

*

My suggestion is that at the next meeting, we should invite those who have proposed draft law and experts from taxation.

Valentina Bonizzi

This space is dedicated to this dialogue, so if you want to use it to write the letter, I will make this available to happen.

Social Council for Civil Society: http://www.amshc.gov.al/

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