Kosovo deputy PM invites Turks in 1.6 bln euro tender

April 17, 2012, Tuesday/ 17:14:00

Kosovar Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade and Industry Mimoza Kusari-Lila invited Turkish investors on Tuesday to participate in privatization tenders including electricity production and distribution projects totaling 1.6 billion euros.

Speaking to the Anatolia news agency after attending a Kosovo-Turkish Business Forum organized by the Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEİK) on Tuesday, Kusari-Lila said Kosovo is also looking to privatize the telecommunications and mining sectors, as well as tobacco factories. Explaining that Kosovo only has the capacity to generate 800 MW of electricity -- short of the 1300 MW needed to cope with demand -- she said Kosovo's government is planning to launch a tender to open power plants with a capacity of 600 MW in order to close the gap. She noted that Kosovo has one of the richest lignite reserves in Europe and encouraged Turkish businessmen to follow up on the government's future privatization tenders for mining projects. According to Kusari-Lila, Kosovo has received several applications from cement producers who are seeking to take advantage of the country's large lignite reserves, which are estimated to last for around 500 years, and said the government will focus on privatizing certain sectors after completing the tenders for energy production and distribution.

Kusari-Lila pointed out that some important factories have been inactive for 12 or 13 years since the Kosovo war, adding that the government is looking forward to reopening these factories and decreasing unemployment. She called on Turkish businessmen to take advantage of this opportunity, in addition to opportunities arising from the privatization of Kosovo's largest telecommunications company and mobile operator, Post & Telecommunication of Kosovo, as well as textile companies and tobacco factories.

Stressing that Turkey is among the top five countries in the world that invest in Kosovo, she said Turkish businesspeople have more interest in investing in Kosovo than they do in any other country in the world. Just last year, Turkish entrepreneurs made investments worth 350 million euros in Kosovo. “Foreign investors are jealous of Turkey. Many foreign investors believe that they have to invest in Kosovo as Turkey's share in the Kosovar market grows. Western European countries observe Turkey's growing strength and influence in the Balkans, which is clearly happening. Turkey's influence in the Balkans is growing, while many companies in Western Europe that used to be active in the Balkans have had to leave due to economic conditions back home. Turkish companies and investors are replacing Western European countries in the Balkans.”

The deputy prime minister also signaled the possibility that a free trade agreement (FTA) with Turkey would be signed which would enable Kosovo to serve as a production hub for Turkish entrepreneurs who want to expand their clientele on the European continent.

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