Subject: LUSA: PM Alkatiri presents bill to promote national private investment

30-04-2004 13:01:00 GMT . Fonte LUSA. Notícia SIR-5998374 Temas:

East Timor: PM Alkatiri presents bill to promote national private investment

Dili, April 30 (Lusa) - Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri launched a public debate Friday on proposed legislation to facilitate and promote private investment by East Timorese entrepreneurs.

In presenting the draft bill at a Dili conference, Alkatiri said it currently cost 30 percent more to set up a new business in East Timor than in neighboring countries.

He said the bill, which will be sent to parliament within a "few weeks" after broad public debate, aimed to give national investors "important incentives" through a wide variety of fiscal and customs breaks.

The bill's prime objective, Alkatiri underlined, was to create jobs and reduce poverty by stimulating local investments.

"Our economy is based on the principle of market law and is guided by competition and competitiveness", Alkatiri said, adding that, given the country's "weak starting point", Dili would to be "more creative than our competitors".

In a related development, Portugal announced earlier in the week that it had paid East Timor's USD 770,000 membership fee in the World Bank's International Finance Corporation, allowing Dili to bid for significant oversees investment projects.

An Asian Development Bank report released Wednesday said the East Timorese economy shrunk by 3 percent during its first year of independence and that 20 percent of its male population was unemployed.

EL/SAS Lusa

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