Southeast Anatolian businessmen support government's incentive package
Businessmen in the east and southeast are optimistic the incentive plan will help overcome the region's socio-economic underdevelopment.
By Erol Ertemer for SES Türkiye in Istanbul -- 17/04/12
The government's long awaited investment incentive programme to support underdeveloped regions has been welcomed by the leading business representatives based in the southeastern provinces, who hope that the plan might finally curb chronic poverty and unemployment.
"In order to overcome differences in development between the east and west and to overcome the technology gap, the new incentive scheme will work well. We fully support the scheme," Fahrettin Akyil, chairman of the Diyarbakır Commodity Exchange, told SES Türkiye.
Remzi Can, a member of the Diyarbakır Chamber of Commerce, also said the scheme will boost the investment climate in the southeast and create new job opportunities.
"It is a great chance that Diyarbakir has been ranked among the cities in the sixth zone in the investment scheme, which means that the investors will have more benefits for their investments in this city," Can said.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the incentive scheme aims to reduce dependency on imported intermediate goods and the country’s current account deficit, as well as contributing to the structural transformation of the country’s industrial sector and eliminating differences between regions.
The incentive scheme has been structured according to socio-economic indicators in different cities, which fall under six groups in terms of priority of incentives.
According to the new incentive scheme, the sixth group, mostly consisting of poorer eastern and southeastern provinces, will receive the most investment support. Investors will receive a variety of government incentives including land, help paying employee insurance premiums and lower interest rates and taxes.
"This recent incentive scheme has already gone beyond the previous incentive scheme attempts; it is designed professionally and I believe that it will pave the way for foreign direct investments to our city," said Raif Turk, chairman of the Diyarbakir Industrialists & Business Association.
Another business representative, Nedim Kuzu, the Siirt Trade and Industry Chamber vice president said, "Our province has been ranked in the sixth category, I believe that the new incentive scheme will bring many more business to our industrial zone, which is almost empty."
The government previously announced that "strategic investments" in education, transportation, mining and some tourist destinations will receive incentives regardless of the location of the strategic investment.
Local businessmen say that while the investment scheme is welcome, peace and stability would play a major role in attracting local and foreign direct investment to the southeastern province.
Osman Nasiroglu, chairman of the Batman Trade and Industry Chamber, told SES Türkiye that in order to attract investment, "we need to have peace and stability first; I am hoping that the peace climate would also take place along with the incentives."
However, some businessmen in the regions have criticised the categorisation and complain that neighbouring provinces may receive an unfair advantage.
"The new scheme has been disappointing for us, as Adana was ranked in the second category of provinces, which means Adana will have less incentive support compared with many provinces around us, such as Gaziantep, Kahramanmaraş, Hatay and Osmaniye," said Muammer Caliskan, chairman of the Adana Trade Commodity Exchange.