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Official says investments risk in Iran has been lowered

An official of the Economy and Finance Ministry Ali Khorsandian said in Tehran on Wednesday that research conducted by the ministry points to a lowering of investments risk and an improved atmosphere for investments in the country, IRNA reported.

Khorsandian, who is the ministry's director general for research and monetary affairs, told IRNA that reforms launched by the government including measures on to overhaul the banking and taxation systems, instituting a single foreign exchange rate, changing of non-tariff barriers to a tariff regime have had a positive effect on attraction of foreign investments.

If investments are profitable for an international entity and is also positive for boosting production and mobilizing resources for the recipient country, 'then attracting foreign investments is justified and logical'.

Since there are inadequate financial resources to be allocated to investments in development projects in the country, it is necessary to mobilize foreign resources, he pointed out.

Khorsandian pointed to guarantees on repatriation of capital and non-nationalization of assets as common provision in the new as well the old investment law.

The new investments law is preferable to the old one, he said adding the foreign investments law was initially ratified in 1955.

He said the delineation of the ceiling and amount of investments in various economic sectors, utilization of up-to-date methods in different investment types including buy-back ventures, and build, operate and transfer (BOT) agreements as new measures authorized in the latest investment law.

"A ceiling of 25 percent of total investments for each sector can be financed through foreign capital," he added.

He put the approved total investments, but not necessarily committed, in 2002 as dlrs 417.131 million channeled to over 31 non-oil sectors, but, included mining explorations ventures, and vehicle manufacturing projects and urban recreational facilities.

In 2001, dlrs 127.7 million of foreign investment was made in the country, the economy and finance ministry official further underlined.

Khorsandian said the bylaws for attracting foreign investments were also approved by the cabinet, 'outlining a transparent and predictable approach of the government to foreign investments'.

The bylaw calls for reducing bureaucratic-red tape, and foreign investors are treated on an equal footing in the eyes of the law as their Iranian counterparts.

He said while there is a proposal to authorize the opening of foreign banking in the country, 'the international banks can now open branches in the Free Trade Zones (FTZs)'.

Meanwhile, Deputy Minister of Economy and Finance Mohammad Khazaei said here in March that Iran has attracted over dlrs 4.6 billion of foreign investments over the last decade by foreign investors.

He added between 1992 to 2002 the inflow of foreign investment topped some dlrs 4.6 billion, adding, "This shows a considerable increase in foreign investments in Iran as compared to the 1980s."

He said these investments have been made mainly by Germany, Netherlands, UK, Belgium, Kuwait.

Investments have been made in the various economic sectors including the production of gas pipeline, power plants, construction of the polyethylene factories, paper manufacturing units, and car-making industry.

He said the economic revitalization is not possible without active participation of private sector and attracting foreign investment.

He stated that generating value added, boosting production and employment and a stronger domestic currency cannot be attained without ample flows of foreign capital.

Khazaei stated that generating value added, production and employment and a stronger domestic currency cannot be attained without ample flows of foreign capital.

He termed as an 'art' the ability to attract foreign capital while calling on the provincial officials to set up a center for promotion of foreign investment.

Fortunately the country's mind-set has changed regarding foreign investment and investors Khazaei said adding, "We have no choice, but to opt for higher domestic production and attracting foreign investment."

... Payvand News - 4/17/03 ... --

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