Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Thursday, Apr 29, 2004
Industry & Economy
Govt must boost private role in economic zones: IFC
New Delhi , April 28
THE Indian Government should play the role of a regulator and facilitate more private sector participation in the development of special economic zones (SEZs), according to Mr Dimitris Tsitsiragos, Director, South Asia Department, International Finance Corporation (IFC).
"There will be a lot of private sector interest in the SEZs in the coming days. Once a separate law is enacted, we will see more private players in such zones," Mr Tsitsiragos told Business Line here.
The private sector interest in such zones was a function of the location and size of such zones as also in the stability of the policies of the Government. "The creation of such economic zones will not only promote foreign direct investment into the country, but also help in increasing trade," he added.
IFC and the Foreign Investment Advisory Services (FIAS), with the financial support of Switzerland's State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), is hosting a workshop on `Economic Zones in South Asia' here on April 29 and 30.
The workshop aims to provide a forum for dialogue by bringing together potential investors, developers, businessmen and policy-makers to discuss the pre-requisites for attracting private sponsorship and investment in economic zones in the region.
Speaking to Business Line, Mr Tsitsiragos also noted that IFC is open to the idea of picking up a stake in any new asset reconstruction company that may be set up in the country. "We are looking at the possibilities of taking a stake in a new ARC. In the long-term, such companies have a lot of potential. We are on the lookout for a right partner," he said.
IFC could facilitate the participation of foreign investors in the ARCs of the country.
Eager to build its presence in South India, it is thinking of opening an office in Chennai. "There is a lot of economic activity in the South. There are many who could emerge as national players in their respective sectors," he said.
IFC is now working on a loan transaction with EID Parry. "There is a developmental angle to our involvement with companies such as EID Parry and Balrampur Chini. These companies have lot of linkages with the farmers (cane growers). Through these companies, we will reach the small cane growers," he said.
In the coming years, Mr Tsitsiragos expects IFC to graduate to higher risk sectors. Infrastructure would continue to be a key focus area for IFC in India for at least the next three to four years.
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