On 5 October 2021, the OECD held the third and last virtual working group on enhancing investment promotion in Tajikistan. The OECD presented its final results and recommendations, while representatives of the private sector and Indonesia’s Investment Co-ordinating Board discussed with Tajik peers the investment promotion strategy, and targeting practices.
The working group was an opportunity to discuss the draft report, present key findings and the final recommendations on Tajikistan’s investment promotion practices, including the institutional setting and strategy to promote investment, its tools to promote and attract investment, and its investment facilitation and policy advocacy role. The event was organised as part of the OECD Policy Component of the EU Central Asia Invest initiative and brought together experts from the OECD, France and Indonesia, with a number of stakeholders from the public and private sector in Tajikistan.
Opening the event, Mr Francesco Straniero, Attaché of the European Union Delegation to Tajikistan, emphasised the relevance of OECD work in supporting the government’s reform agenda. He indicated that Tajikistan would benefit from the good practices and experience of its peers to adapt its investment promotion to the circumstances of the pandemic.
In the first session, Ms Talisa zur Hausen, Policy Analyst in the OECD Eurasia Division, presented the results of the OECD study, drawing attention to how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the context for attracting FDI as well as three key findings and recommendations. First, institutions dedicated to investment promotion are crippled with overlapping responsibilities, insufficient independence and little resources. It is imperative to clarify mandates in which the SCISPM becomes a single window for investor services. Second, investment promotion activities need to identify specific target sectors to focus investment promotion in line with development goals. The use of digital tools could reduce costs and increase effectiveness in that regard. Finally, investors struggle with the de facto implementation of the legislative framework for investors, rendering it even more crucial for Tajikistan’s IPAs to ensure a well-functioning facilitation system for their investors.
N.S Malikzoda, from Tajikistan’s Tax Committee, added to the OECD presentation, providing an overview of the reforms and amendments enacted over the last years to ensure a transparent, fair and attractive tax code for foreign investors. Mr Fiorenzo Sperotto, an expert on investment promotion, expressed his surprise that issues that needed to be addressed a decade ago to promote investment in Tajikistan were still relevant today. He thanked the OECD team for providing practical advice and presenting a realistic timeline for reforms. Ms Elena Son, Executive Director of the US-Tajikistan Business Council, emphasised the second recommendation from the presentation. She also congratulated Tajikistan for the colossal improvements so far and encouraged them to continue listening to the views of US and foreign investors. Finally Mr Volodymyr Matiushko, International Consultant of Digital Development and Innovation, took advantage of an open discussion to stress how regional transport and connectivity harmonisation projects can bridge the digital infrastructure gap.
The second part of the webinar focused on setting up a strategy to strengthen co-ordination of investment promotion entities and conducting sectoral investment promotion. Mr Bapak Ricky Kusmayadi, Director of Investment Promotion Development in Indonesia, expanded upon his country’s long-standing co-ordination system to undertake investment promotion across several government bodies. He stressed the importance of driving investment towards value priority and labour-intensive sectors through tax incentives, investment allowances, clusters and simplified regulations. Mr Kusmayadi’s presentation gave rise to a lively Q&A session regarding new measures’ publicity among investors and developing market intelligence.
Mrs Amélie Scurich-Rey offered closing remarks, thanking all the participants, the EU, and inviting them to send their remaining comments by October 15.The findings and recommendations will be peer-reviewed at the OECD Eurasia Competitiveness Roundtable as part of OECD Eurasia Week, planned on November 24 2021 in a virtual format.