08 Apr 09 - UNCTAD´s Investment Policy Review Belarus discussed in Minsk

UNCTAD's Investment Policy Review Belarus discussed in Minsk UNCTAD presented the main findings and recommendations of the forthcoming Investment Policy Review of the Republic of Belarus to the Government and key stakeholders at a workshop in Minsk. The local and international private sector and the development community participated actively in the discussions.

The main findings and recommendations of the Investment Policy Review (IPR) of Belarus are encouraging, said UNCTAD representatives during the presentation of the draft report at the stakeholders' workshop in Minsk, on 8 April.

The presentation gathered around 70 participants from different Ministries and State agencies, the private sector and other development partners, including the UNDP office in Belarus and the World Bank. The First Deputy Minister of Economy, Mr. Piotr Zhabko, who opened the meeting, emphasized that the Government of Belarus was "not envisaging any step back" in reforming the investment climate and stressed that the IPR would be used to move forward.

A representation of the key stakeholders from the workshop
From left to right: Mr. Levan Bouadze, Deputy Resident Representative, UNDP Belarus, Mr. Vladimir Karyagin, Chairman of PA 'MCAEE', Prof. Alena Petrushkevich, Belarus State Economic University, Ms. Natalia Dmitrovich, Deputy Head of Main Investment Directorate, Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Belarus, Mr. Antonius Broek, Resident Coordinator, United Nations System in Belarus, Ms. Chantal Dupasquier, Chief, Investment Policy Reviews Section of UNCTAD, Mr. Massimo Meloni, Project Officer, Investment Policy Reviews Section of UNCTAD.

Ms. Chantal Dupasquier, Chief of the Investment Policy Review programme of UNCTAD, 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 Investment Policy Review identifies a number of areas where regulatory and administrative reforms are needed to enhance Belarus' 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.

A number of follow-up activities to assist the Government in the implementation of the IPR's recommendations were also discussed in a bilateral meeting between Government representatives and the UNCTAD staff. The Resident Coordinator of the UN System in Belarus, Mr. Antonius Broek, expressed support for the implementation process and indicated that all development partners in the country, including the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, should assist Belarus in operationalizing and implementing the recommendations of the IPR.

In 2007, the Republic of Belarus, through the Minister of Economy, H.E., Mr. N.P. Zaichenko, requested UNCTAD to conduct an Investment Policy Review. The aim was to underpin Belarus' efforts to improve its attractiveness to investors by creating an enabling environment for business.

The IPR of Belarus, which is the 26th IPR completed by UNCTAD, has been in progress since May 2008. In November 2008, UNCTAD participated in the first Belarus Investment Forum in London to present the preliminary results of the IPR. On the occasion of the Forum, Dr. Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary-General of UNCTAD, met with H.E. Sergei Sidorskiy, Prime Minister of Belarus, who indicated strong commitment to the IPR process.

The final version of the report will be publicly available in the third quarter of 2009 and it will also be presented by UNCTAD at an inter-governmental event to be held in Geneva in the fourth quarter of 2009.



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