The state government of Andhra Pradesh has been feverishly gearing up for the much touted global investors summit to be held in early March this year. From hob-nobbing with foreign diplomats in New Delhi to holding road shows across regions the AP government is going all out to woo investors and businesses into the state.
And assisting them in this journey of theirs is National industry body CII. Vizag Industrial Scan caught up with CII’s young & dynamic AP Chairman, Mr Neeraj Sarda to get a glimpse of what one could expect from the summit.
Edited Excerpts below.
Having accompanying GoAP leadership in meetings with prospective investors and Businesses for the global AP investors summit, what would you say has the initial response been from the investor community?
The Government of Andhra Pradesh has projected the state to potential investors in a very impressive way mainly because of the diversified industrial base and port-based infrastructure in the state.
The recent diplomatic outreach led by the CM, Mr Jagan Mohan Reddy was extremely successful I would say.
We saw a slew of high profile diplomats i.e. Ambassadors, High Commissioners and Trade Commissioners of many countries along with CEOs of many MNCs come and actively participate.
The overall response from investors is positive and I feel the state should be able to attract investments worth $35 to 40 billion plus.
How is CII assisting GoAP in organizing the Investors Summit?
CII has been supporting and working very closely with GoAP since last few months for the GIS 2023. CII has already facilitated two outreach programs for GOAP in short succession.
CII is also facilitating all roadshows and outreach programs for the GoAP along with structuring the two days investor summit sessions during 3rd and 4th March.
What are Investors mostly wanting/expecting from the AP state Govt?
Although we have come a long way and AP has done quite well in the EoDB rankings since past 3 years there is still scope of improvement.
I feel most of the investors expect more of facilitation and less and less of government.
A mechanism in place for handholding new investors till the time the projects are grounded. Stability of critical policies going forward so that it doesn’t impact negatively the return on large investments. Fiscal benefits for industries at par with our neighbouring states.
Is the 75% mandate for hiring locals an impediment for Industry?
I personally feel this does not have any negative impact whatsoever on a majority of the industries. Most investors come to the state looking at the infrastructure as well as local skilled manpower.
No new industry plans to get manpower from outside.
We have been in the state since 2008 and even before the mandate for 75% local employment was made we naturally had this number in place by default. Several industries such as knowledge based or R&D based where local talent is not available the GoAP is totally open for understanding and flexible for relaxing the norms on a case to case basis.
What are some of the key roadblocks challenges you feel the Govt should be addressing in attra- cting Trade and Business?
DeBottlenecking infrastructure in existing industrial clusters and building new infrastructure at a very rapid pace especially logistics to take care of demands of future.
Prompt disbursements of fiscal incentives approved by the GoAP and reduced follow up by the industries for their incentives.
Faster deliveries of clearances and zero follow up by the investors. Deemed approval for most of the issues is possible however for PCB and Power department a special cell to ensure timely deliverables from such critical departments.
AP has been consistently ranked no 1 in EoDB. What according to CII is it that AP is doing differently from other states?
EoDB is a well-rounded survey of government initiatives in making easy for business to conduct their day to day affair. It’s also a perception survey of the industries wherein the feedback comes directly from the industries and participants themselves. GoAP has taken a lot of reforms, online portal for single window clearance, deemed approval for most of the regulatory issues, revamping of Fire NOC and Consent for Approval etc are some of the measures along with the many other measures they have taken.
How will the shifting of the capital augur for Industrial development?
If history is to repeat itself and what I have observed in the race between urbanisation vs industrialisation, industrialisation always loses. Today Vizag is the most industrially diversified city in the country with industries ranging from Pharma and chemicals, apparel and heavy industries to aquaculture and it. Whenever a city develops as a capital of the state, naturally the land prices shoot up.
This in case of Vizag is all the more serious as we are locked on one side by hills other side by ocean. With higher urban land prices it is difficult for industries especially MSMEs to afford higher land cost as it is practically a dead investment and doesn’t benefit the value addition of its product or business. Hence I feel in the long run it will pose a big challenge for industries.