VILNIUS - The Economy Ministry has designated three plots of land across the country to be developed as industrial parks in what is a major push to attract EU funds and foreign investors.
Backed by a group of Dutch consultants, the ministry has selected lots in Alytus, Panevezys and Siauliai, according to reports. The ministry hopes to choose a fourth municipality in the next month.
All four lots will only be ready for exploitation in several years, and the government is hoping to procure funding for infrastructure from the European Union.
"The decision to assign some assistance from structural funds for the creation of industrial parks will probably be made in 2007, and the funding will only be assigned in 2008," said Laimute Kalinauskiene, chief expert at the investment policy division of the ministry.
Lithuania is attempting to increase the foreign direct investment, although the majority of foreign companies tend to choose other countries within the region for the expansion of their businesses. Still, the country is particularly short of greenfield investments, Kalinauskiene noted.
Many small manufacturers in Scandinavia and Germany are attracted to the Baltics' low labor costs and favorable tax regime, and a few have already moved to the region since the three countries joined the EU.
Land lots for the establishment of industrial parks were offered by more than 20 municipalities, while the project team selected only seven of them. The selection criteria included attractiveness of the region, as well as availability and quality of roads and the presence of skilled labor and subcontractors in the area.
All land lots selected for the projects cover an area of 50 's 100 hectares.