Chennai, Jan 12 (IANS) Pitching his country as the low cost manufacturing gateway to the European market, Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski Monday invited Indian investments in range of sectors like pharmaceuticals, hospitality, energy, agro, food processing and others.
Speaking at an interactive session here organised by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Gruevski said: “Macedonia has signed up free trade agreement (FTA) with all the European nations. So manufacturers in Europe do not have to pay and customs duties on products imported from Macedonia.”
He said the east European country has taken lot of steps in reforms to attract investments so as to reduce the unemployment levels.
According to him, Macedonia is one of the top ranking countries in the world when it comes to ease of doing business.
“It takes only four hours to register a company. The tax rates – personal and corporate income tax – are ten percent. For the corporates if their profits are reinvested, then the rate is zero percent,” Gruevski said.
The country has four free economic zones (FEZ) and 10 more under construction which offers attractive incentives for units located there, he said.
On the human resources front, Gruevski said the country spends around six percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on education and there is good talent pool for Indian industries.
“Most of our citizens speak English and IT (information technology) is taught in schools. It is compulsory for the parents to send their children to elementary and secondary schools. The technical education curriculum is in line with what the industry wants,” he said.
According to him, those who are investing 400,000 euros and employ a minimum of 10 people are given Macedonian citizenship and a passport. Those who invest in a property valued not less than 40,000 euros are offered permanent residency.
Wooing the Indian industries to set up shop in the country’s Technological Industrial Development Zones (TIDZ) Deputy Economy Minister Hristijan Delev said the units in the zone enjoy 10 years tax holiday and the customs duty is zero.
According to him, the land is given on long lease at very nominal rates.
The country invited investments in sectors like auto-components, hospitality, healthcare, medical devices, energy, food processing, logistics and others, while in the tourism sector, they were seeking investments in construction of hotels and resorts.
The Macedonian minister in-charge of foreign investments said the country has around 400 vacant factories that could be used by the Indian industries to jump start their venture.
He said Macedonia is as cost competitive as China for exporting to Europe and many Chinese companies are setting up shop in his country.