6 MARCH 2002

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Business opportunities discussed at Bank of Valletta seminar

BoV Chairman Joseph FX Zahra, explained at a recent conference, "The implementation of Law Number Five in 1997, which facilitates foreign direct investment, and the related opening up of the Libyan economy has given further impetus to Malta, like many other countries, to increase its direct investment and commercial activities in Libya.

“The purpose of this Conference thus, serves as a catalyst in bringing together interested parties for identifying and creating win-win scenarios for the benefit of the economies of our two neighbouring countries."
The half day seminar, "Libya - Your Neighbour and Business Partner", was attended by some 280 delegates and was also addressed by Josef Bonnici, Minister for Economic Services and John Dalli, Minister of Finance.
Mr Zahra added, "Diversification of the economy has become a high priority for the Libyan government. In fact, through an ambitious five-year plan, the authorities plan to invest over 35 billion US dollars in tourism, transport and telecommunications, manufacturing, the petrochemical industry and the extraction and refinement of mineral products. The Libyan state will finance up to 60% of this plan, whilst the remaining 40% will be coming from foreign direct investment. A large number of Italian, Canadian, British, Spanish, German and South Korean companies are already expanding their operations into Libya. This plan is primarily divided into two, namely: the modernisation and expansion of present operating companies and the undertaking of new commercial ventures. The modernisation of the industrial sector and the attracting of foreign direct investment is being coordinated by the General Industrialisation Corporation."
The seminar was then addressed by Dr Bashir Ali Zenbil, General Director of the Libyan Foreign Investment Board who outlined Law Number 5 Concerning the Encouragement of Foreign Capital Investment. He stated, "Law No 5 was specifically created for the encouragement of foreign capital investment and promotion of investment projects. The law specifically studies and proposes plans to organize foreign investment and supervise foreign investments in the country in sectors such as Industry, Health, Tourism, Services and Agriculture."
The seminar was also addressed by Mohamed Ghattour, Managing Director of Ghattour & Co who gave a detailed overview of all the taxation and filing requirements needed to start operating in Libya. Mr Ghattour described how the Libyan law currently states that all companies formed in Libya must be Libyan controlled and how foreign businesses normally operate through a branch of the parent company or of a selected subsidiary, the location of which may be selected by reference to the investor’s tax structures.
Referring to the Libyan taxation structure, Mr Ghattour stated that the Libyan Taxation Structure is composed of Direct Taxes on Capital and Income and Indirect Taxes on Customs Duty and Stamp Duty. Reference was also made to the different applicable stamp duties, preliminary and final assessments, taxation of foreign branches and tax on salaries and wages.
To give a practical dimension on doing business in Libya, three leading Maltese entrepreneurs, Mr. Alfred Pisani, Chairman and Executive Head of the Corinthia Group, Mr. Mario Camilleri, Chairman of Consultancy Services International Holding Ltd., and Mr. Henry Attard, Deputy Chairman of the Panta Lesco Group, gave presentations on their experience in Libya.



The Business Times, Network House, Vjal ir-Rihan San Gwann SGN 07
Tel: (356) 382741-3, 382745-6 | Fax: (356) 385075 | e-mail: editorial@networkpublications.com.mt