Kuwaiti lawmakers approved unanimously on Monday all 22 clauses of a draft bill aimed at opening up the country to foreign investments in a bid to boost the sagging national economy, reported the Gulf Daily.
The first vote by roll call on the bill itself will be held Tuesday, while the second and final vote is expected in two weeks time, said the daily.
The legislation provides potential foreign investors tax holidays for up to 10 years, exemption from customs and charges on raw materials.
The bill also allows foreign investors to establish companies in the country without a Kuwaiti sponsor or partner currently needed for any business venture.
MPs said the bill would help bring advanced technology and modern management, besides billions of dollars of investment needed to revitalize the local economy, according to the paper.
But they insisted that the legislation must guarantee Kuwait's interests and its wealth.
"The bill is tailored for Kuwait's interests, and for its development. We must upgrade ourselves to the level of countries which protect foreign investments," State Minister for Cabinet Affairs, Mohammad Sharar, said.
A number of MPs, however, insisted that no foreign investors would come to Kuwait as long as bureaucracy and administrative corruption was widespread, reported AFP.
"If we really want to lure foreign investors, we must first convince our investors to come back. Private investments outside Kuwait are estimated at between $50 billion to 150 billion," MP Mohammad Al Saqer was quoted by the agency as saying -- Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )