May 29, 2012
Reposted from The Star
“We are open to the idea if they are interested in investing in Bhutan,” DHI chief executive officer Karma Yonten said.
He said there were a number of areas in which Bhutan was seeking foreign direct investments (FDIs), namely wellness resort development and an education city, which is to have a 100% green campus a main criteria for any investment in Bhutan.
“About 400ha in addition to other incentives is to be provided by the royal government,” he said during a briefing to ambassadors and high commissioners based in Dhaka and New Delhi, who represented 12 countries. Malaysia’s high commissioner to India Datuk Tan Seng Sungwas also present.
Strategically located between two rising economies, China and India, the country is also wooing investments in data centre related businesses, renewable energy, organic farming as well as alternative building materials to reduce dependence on timber for construction.
In an interview with Bernama, Yonten revealed that if a collaboration took place between DHI and Khazanah, it would not be the first interaction for both entities. “We did visit Khazanah to know how it was set up as a government investment arm. They had a lot of reforms in the corporate sector in Malaysia and we went there to learn what they had been doing as part of a transformation process,” he said.
DHI, which was set up in 2007, is also keen to partake in Khazanah’s training programmes. “We are also keen to attend some of their training but I think they are busy training their own directors and the training is not open to outsiders yet,” he said.
A landlocked country, Bhutan was deliberately closed to foreigners until 1974.
Following its move to open up, it is now keen to secure a portion of global FDI in accordance to its principles of an environmentally friendly country.
It is promoting itself not only as an investment friendly and politically stable nation, but also as a less corrupted nation.
“We are endorsed by Transparency International as the least corrupted country in the Indian subcontinent and I think it is one of the qualities that will attract foreign investors,” its Ministry of Economic Affairs’ secretary Dasho Sonam Tshering said.
Foreign investors can have maximum equity holdings of between 51% and 100%. Companies could also own land and 100% equity for some activities under priority list, he said.
Bhutan’s FDI policy prohibits foreign investments in gambling, tobacco products, media and broadcasting, wholesale, retail and micro trade, mining for sale in raw form, hotel below three stars and general health services.
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