Tajikistan to establish free economic zones

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Siyavush Mekhtan


DUSHANBE, Oct. 15—The first free economic zone in Tajikistan will open by the end of 2008, announced Larissa Kislyakova, the Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade.

The Ministry has drafted documents and regulations regarding two Free Economic Zones (FEZ) proposed last April. One is located close to the border with Afganistan in the south, and the second is in the Sogdiisk region in the north. The required infrastructure at both locations is now being developed.

The government is also preparing legal documents related to the FEZs that must be approved by the lower house of the Tajikistan Parliament.

"To attract foreign investors, without whom the FEZs cannot function, the state must begin to invest its own resources to create an appropriate infrastructure on FEZ territory and resolve the problems of providing them with electricity," said Farkhod Saidov, an expert on economic issues.

Kislyakova revealed that part of the capital for creating FEZs will be allotted from the state budget, while the rest will be paid for by the financial resources of a management company and other private investors. Financial analysts are still calculating how much capital will be needed to create at least one FEZ.

To assist them with their analysis, specialists of the Tajikistan committee for investment and state property are studying proposals from the China Development Bank. Financial groups from Arab nations have already expressed interest in investing in a Tajik FEZ.

Local analysts underscore the need to develop the Tajik FEZs at international standards in order to ensure that potential investors receive tangible benefits and firm guarantees from their involvement with them.

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