18 Nov 08 - UNCTAD helps Belarus reform its investment climate

Belarus coat-of-armsOn the occasion of the Belarus Investment Forum, UNCTAD presented the preliminary findings of the ongoing Investment Policy Review of the Republic of Belarus to the Prime Minister, Sergei Sidorsky and leading representatives of the global investment community.

The preliminary findings of UNCTAD's ongoing Investment Policy Review (IPR) of Belarus are encouraging, said Ms. Lakshmi Puri, Acting Deputy Secretary-General of UNCTAD.

Ms. Puri was addressing the Belarus Investment Forum in London. The event, which was the first high-level international meeting focused on highlighting investment opportunities in Belarus, featured the participation of the Prime Minister of Belarus, Sergei Sidorsky, high-level government officials and senior business executives from across Europe.

Ms. Puri addressing the Belarus Investment Forum in London
Ms. Puri addressing the Belarus Investment Forum in London

On behalf of the Secretary-General of UNCTAD, Ms. Puri told the audience that the Government's reforms are heading in the right direction to deliver a more transparent, predictable and competitive business environment - indispensable for attracting high-quality investors.

UNCTAD's IPR also identified a number of areas where further regulatory and administrative reforms are needed to enhance Belarus's competitiveness and increase its attractiveness as an investment location. These include a fair pricing mechanism, an effective land titling system, a competitive fiscal regime and non-discrimination in the access to raw materials and industrial inputs.

In 2007, the Republic of Belarus requested UNCTAD to conduct an Investment Policy Review. The aim was to underpin Belarus's efforts to improve its attractiveness to investors by creating an enabling environment for business.

This IPR has been in progress since May 2008, and the first draft is now undergoing a rigorous examination by UNCTAD experts.

The draft will be presented to the Government of Belarus and key stakeholders, including the private sector, at an event to be held in Minsk in early 2009.



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