Libya's main legislative body has approved a law setting up a free trade zone on the country's Mediterranean coast, Saadi Gaddafi, a son of the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, told Reuters on Sunday.
The zone will have free movement of capital and goods, its own courts and a stock exchange, and investors there will benefit from a 10-year tax holiday, according to a copy of the law seen by Reuters.
The idea of the free trade zone has been in development for several years, and a Dubai-based property developer had said it plans to be involved, but progress has been slow.
Saadi Gaddafi, a businessman who is likely to be director of the zone's board, said the zone was needed to stimulate investment outside Libya's oil and gas sector.
"Although Libya has other sources, we still depend primarily on oil," he told Reuters in an interview. "We have to take care of industry, foreign investment, tourism and we also have to search for other sources ... anything that makes Libya depend on sources other than oil."
He said the law on the zone had been approved by his father, was backed by his brother Saif al-Islam, who is Libya's second most powerful political figure, and had also been approved by the Basic People's Congresses, Libya's main law-making body.
Under Libya's grass-roots system of government, decisions taken by the Basic People's Congresses are automatically passed into law by the General People's Congress, or parliament.
Saadi called all Libyans and Libyan businessmen who are experts to take advantage of these benefits and the new business potential and participate and contribute to the success of the programmes and projects and work together for a better future for Libya.
The main objective of establishing such a free zone for investment with its natural environment in the development of investment solutions to be able to compete with similar economic regions in the world and to be a magnet for national and foreign investments and developments as a new management model governs the legal relations between the state authorities and the region and investors by the latest world standards of excellence in the administrative, technical, productive, professional and human
Source: Reuters and SOC Libya