There are plans to invest about Br40 million in the construction of infrastructure facilities in the free economic zone (FEZ) Vitebsk, including about Br30 million in 2021, the FEZ Vitebsk administration told BelTA.
The money will be spent on creating an additional energy capacity, building a water supply facility and railway lines in sector No.1 Zhurzhevo in Vitebsk's outskirt. The development of the engineering and transport infrastructure will allow raising at least $165 million in foreign direct investments in the future and creating about 1,000 jobs as part of the projects, which are already being implemented or may be registered this year. The promising projects include investment projects of Chinese and Swedish businessmen, who intend to create woodworking enterprises and an investment project for setting up an enterprise to make biochar.
The new infrastructure will enable the launch of a chipped wood plant in 2021. It will become the first manufacturing asset of the Lithuanian group VMG in FEZ Vitebsk within the framework of a large-scale project that envisages the organization of a vertically integrated woodworking cluster. The project provides for setting up enterprises to make particleboards, furniture, and wood pellets. About €100 million will be channeled into the project and at least 700 jobs will be created.
In 2020 the FEZ Vitebsk administration did a considerable amount of organizational work in order to enable the implementation of these plans. Design work was finished for building a 110kV overhead power line, a 20MW stepdown transformer substation, and a railway line at the expense of the FEZ Vitebsk development fund and money of investors. Negotiations were held with suppliers of materials and equipment. These installations will be commissioned this year provided funding goes smoothly. Plans have been made to continue improving the transport and engineering infrastructure at other sites of FEZ Vitebsk.
Apart from that, in 2020 the resident companies invested about Br195 million in development, more than 57% up from 2019.
A total of 56 investment projects involving investors from 15 countries, including Germany, Czechia, Russia, Poland, UK, USA, Israel, Cyprus, and Estonia, are being implemented in FEZ Vitebsk. The companies operating in the free economic zone employ about 16,600 people.
The free economic zone (FEZ) Vitebsk was established in 1999 and comprises 16 sectors with the total area of nearly 2,800ha. Eight sectors are located in Vitebsk, five in Orsha District, one in Novopolotsk, one in Postavy, and another one in Polotsk District.