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Russian tycoon plans $5.5bn investment

ISLAMABAD, July 14: The Swiss-based ‘Credit Mediterranee’, owned by Russian business tycoon Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, has shown interest in making investment of $5.5 billion in Thar coal fields.

Currently visiting Pakistan, Ilyumzhinov met President Asif Zardari here on Saturday and announced his plan for investment in the Thar coal project.

The president thanked Ilyumzhinov for his interest in the energy sector of Pakistan. Chairman of Board of Investment, Saleem H. Mandviwalla informed Ilyumzhinov that Pakistan offers lucrative investment opportunities and certain incentives have been allowed in the Thar coal by the government.

The incentives include 20 per cent internal rate of return to the firms, thirty years exemption on corporate tax, all customs duties on coal mining projects at zero percentage, and exemption for thirty years on withholding tax on procurement of goods and services during project construction.

Mandviwalla also informed the Russian investor that the government is strongly committed to restoring macroeconomic stability as well was the confidence of investors by evolving a comprehensive and integrated strategy programme to increase productivity and high growth rates.

Ilyumzhinov, who is also the President of World Chess Federation, proposed to President Zardari to include chess as part of school curriculum and pledged to donate books and equipment for this purpose. He said he plans to hold a world chess championship in Karachi in November this year, and launch a chess academy in the city.