Poland eager to attract SA investors

THE Polish government has embarked on a drive to encourage South African investment as part of a massive privatisation programme.

Its embassy in Durban yesterday presented potential investors with an overview of Poland's current economic climate - as well as major privatisation projects in various sectors including energy, transport, construction, machinery, pharmacy, finance, mining and agriculture.

The government's privatisation plan for 2008-11 realises Prime Minister Donald Tusk's 2007 commitment to increase the pace of privatisation.

Its ministry of treasury aims to privatise over 800 state companies from several key business sectors before the current government's term ends.

Priority has been given to legislative measures designed to accelerate the process. In addition, changes in law procedures have also been tailored to be more investor-friendly.

Slawomir Sonarski, first secretary of the embassy's trade and investment promotion section, told a contingent of KwaZulu-Natal business people that Poland had one of the most robust economies in the EU.

Despite the global recession it is "probably the only EU country recording positive GDP this year" and has accumulated $160billion (R1,2trillion) in foreign direct investment.

Poland, according to its representatives, is one of the most luring investment destinations in Europe because of low labour costs, an "attractive" taxation system and a young, educated work force.

The government has also set up a centre to field enquiries from potential investors.