Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Erbil most desirable city for foreign investment: survey

ERBIL, Jan. 11 – Erbil Governorate is the most desired destination for foreign investment in 2011 with over $1 billion USD (1.1 trillion IQD) channeled into Kurdistan Region in 2011.

Erbil Governorate received the lion's share, $1.26 billion USD (1.5 trillion IQD). That is about 57% of the $2.18 billion USD (2.5 trillion IQD) foreign money sloshing about the region according to a survey by Kurdistan Region's Investment Board.

The remaining two governorates of Kurdistan Region, Sulaimaniyah and Duhok, each attracted $563 million USD (657 billion IQD) and $457 million USD (534 billion IQD) in foreign investments respectively.

The majority of the foreign investment has gone to the housing sector, according to the survey.

Kurdistan Region is the hot spot for investment in Iraq since 2003 and is regarded as one of the Middle East's best growth prospects in 2012. According to statistics released by the Investment Board, the region has attracted some $16.2 billion (19 trillion IQD) in foreign investment over the past five years.

Of this again Erbil Governorate has received the lion's share, attracting 61% - $9.8 billion USD (11.5 trillion IQD) - across the five years.

In the same period Sulaimaniyah and Duhok attracted $2.7 billion (3.2 trillion IQD) and $1.5 billion (1.8 trillion IQD) respectively.

Kurdistan Region's boom in foreign investment has been accredited to its accommodating Investment Law, passed in 2007. The law provides incentives for foreign investors including the possibility of owning land, up to 10 year tax holidays, easy repatriation of profits and removal of tariffs on exports and imports related to the project.

Figures obtained from the Kurdistan Regional Government's Ministry of Trade last month showed a 30% increase in the number of foreign companies registering in Kurdistan Region in 2011. Up from 331 companies in 2010 to 433 companies this year.

By Raber Aziz (AKnews)