Run-up to Make in Odisha: Roadshows abroad may yield Rs 100 bn investments

Odisha's roadshows on the foreign shores of Saudi Arabia, Italy and Germany has seemed to have enthused investors. Companies across sectors like petrochemicals, textiles and aluminium downstream have dangled the promise of virgin investments valued at around Rs 100 billion.

In the run-up to its second edition of 'Make in Odisha' conclave scheduled from November 11-15, a state delegation had recently toured the three countries. The outreach effort was aimed at promoting Odisha's array of reforms and cementing investor interest. Besides, the state government is aiming at partner country collaboration for its showpiece investment conclave.

“The response from overseas investors at these roadshows is very encouraging. A clutch of investors in petrochemicals, aluminium downstream and textiles industries have evinced interest to invest in Odisha. The positive sentiment from overseas companies has come as a huge boost ahead of our investment summit”, said a source in the know.

Among others, Riyadh-based SABIC, a global leader in diversified chemicals, is keen to invest Rs 50 billion on a petrochemical project in Odisha's coast. Though the location is not firmed up yet, the company is eyeing Tata Steel-owned Special  Economic Zone (SEZ) in Gopalpur on south Odisha coast. SABIC where the Saudi Arabia government owns 70 per cent equity and the rest shares traded on the exchange, has operations spanning 50 countries. With innovation hubs in five key geographies, the company boasts of a workforce pool of over 35,000 employees worldwide. 

Sanjeev Chopra, principal secretary, industries (Odisha) said, “During our overseas outreach programmes, we interacted with many potential investors. We invited them to our 'Make in Odisha' conclave. Investor interest has been primarily in the areas of aluminium downstream, textiles, petrochemicals and food processing. Apart from a direct connect with the investors, Odisha is also looking for a government to government collaboration to ease procedural worries for investors and enable faster take off of projects.”

For the upcoming 'Make in Odisha' summit, the state has been on an overdrive to draw investors. A delegation of state officials have been running publicity campaigns within the country and abroad to showcase Odisha's reforms and its strengths as an investment destination.

At the inaugural 'Make in Odisha' summit in December 2016, the state drew investment intents worth Rs 2.03 trillion. Investments rushed to the state across sectors with metals & mining being the highest grosser at Rs 970 billion. Nearly  60 per cent of the investments are in various stages of implementation or approval.

Over the past few years, multiple initiatives have been taken by Odisha to enhance investment promotion preparedness. These include institutionalizing State Level Facilitation Cell, appointment of sector-specific nodal officers to handhold investors, identification of six focus sectors, regular domestic and international investor outreach through roadshows and a focused approach to facilitating investments through technology-enabled interventions like launch of Government of Odisha Single Window for Investor Facilitation & Tracking (GO-SWIFT) portal.

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