Cluj-Napoca is the city of services, says mayor Emil Boc

Newsroom 12/07/2014 | 14:10

Cluj-Napoca City Hall is granting some tax exemptions and has set some priority areas for development, to encourage local investments and job creation. The town’s mayor, Emil Boc, outlined to BR the industries and services with potential and what Cluj has to offer in terms of infrastructure and tax breaks.

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By Otilia Haraga

What are the main reasons a company should choose to invest in Cluj over another city in the region?

Cluj is a university center with 11 universities and over 100,000 students. Four of the Cluj universities are ranked among the top 12 institutes of advanced research in Romania. There is a collaboration protocol in place, among public institutions, universities and companies, which produces a skilled labor force.

Secondly, Cluj has numerous business clubs such as the Dutch Business Club and the Club of Northern Businesspeople in Northern Transylvania (Deutschsprachiger Wirtschaftsclub Nordtransilvanien).
Also, it was elected Youth European Capital in 2015 and is a candidate for the title of European Cultural Capital in 2021.

Cluj is also worth investing in for its Tetarom industrial parks, three of which are completed and one is underway.
The internet speed in Cluj is among the fastest in the world, according to a Pando Networks survey.

Last but not least, Cluj is the perfect destination for IT, according to the KPMG survey Exploring Global Frontiers, which places Cluj 31st among international destinations for IT investments.

What are the main facilities that firms that decide to invest in Cluj benefit from at the moment? Do you intend to offer new such facilities in the future?

We offer exemptions from the payment of delay penalties and penalties relating to budgetary obligations, consisting of local taxes, royalties and rents owed to the local budget by companies or associations that contribute to the local budget of the city of Cluj-Napoca.

Companies that run activities in Cluj industrial parks will pay the lowest taxes possible by law, which amount to 0.25 percent.

We also offer fiscal benefits for “green” buildings built in Cluj-Napoca, which amount to a 50 percent reduction in budgetary obligations.

What are the main strategic directions for the economic development of Cluj for the next few years? Are there priority industries that you wish to promote?

First of all, Cluj-Napoca as a functional and business-friendly city. Cluj must be perceived, nationally and internationally, as a place where life is good, work is good and business goes well. In the future, we believe it will be interesting to explore the way the city is perceived from the outside.

Secondly, the authorities’ openness to the business environment via a proactive, efficient administration that answers to the needs of the business environment will facilitate the economic development of the city.

Thirdly, Cluj-Napoca as a town that invests in its citizens to create competency. Some EU countries have serious issues with unemployment among young people. Cluj-Napoca must avoid, as much as possible, graduate unemployment. This means vacancies that require a medium to high degree of qualification. Greater social and economic welfare must be the main goal of this strategic direction. Cluj-Napoca must prove a city capable of attracting expertise and competency that will support its future economic growth. Along with these, the other goals are raising the training level of the labor force and graduates, and ensuring better working and living conditions for Cluj citizens.

Fourthly, attracting, retaining and supporting investments. Cluj-Napoca wants to affirm its status as a national and European innovation pole. The successful strategy must involve developing the capacity for research, innovation and technological transfer. This can be done by spending more on research and development. Local authorities can act as catalysts to stimulate innovation in science and technology.

Last but not least, Cluj-Napoca as an internationally connected city. Road connections have not been a strong point for Cluj-Napoca in the past, and the city must become globally connected to facilitate access to international markets and business networks. Economic development requires a well-developed public transportation system.

What investment works, especially pertaining to infrastructure, with an impact on the business environment, are currently underway in Cluj-Napoca?

Infrastructure works include the rehabilitation of Calea Baciului, the entry to the city from Baciu, which will be reconfigured to improve traffic flow. They also include improvements to the street network that is adjacent to the tram line. Furthermore, the rehabilitation of the Garibaldi and Traian bridges. Finally, the modernization of Calea Turzii Street.

Which sectors of the local economy and industry have sparked the interest of new investors?

Cluj-Napoca is a city of services, with an important industrial component. The balance of economic activities carried out in Cluj-Napoca, from the turnover point of view, shows that the services and trade sectors generate more than half of the total turnover of companies in the town.

Cluj is one of the most interesting markets in South-Eastern Europe for firms in outsourcing and software development. Various studies rank Cluj-Napoca as one of the most attractive cities for IT outsourcing services, and its status as a prestigious university center has a key role in this regard. For instance, a KPMG study places Cluj 31st in the ranking of the most attractive international locations based on the development potential for the IT-BPO outsourcing field. The local IT sector has one of the main clusters in this field in Romania.

Currently, the economic sectors that are developing in Cluj-Napoca are information & communications, real estate, education, healthcare & social assistance, wholesale & retail trade, and car & motorcycle repairing. Last but not least, potential lies in water distribution, utilities, waste management, decontamination activities, plus transportation & storage.

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