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Pakistanís strong economic indicators, attractive for foreign investment in power, oil sectors PDF Print E-mail
By Shumaila Andleeb

TIANJIN, China, Sept 12 (APP): Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Wednesday, mentioning Pakistan’s strong economic indicators, said the country was an attractive zone for foreign investment, particularly in power, oil and gas exploration and infrastructure development sectors. The Prime Minister expressed these views while leading  a discussion of the Business Interaction Group on Pakistan at the Meijiang Convention Centre - the venue of ongoing World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting of New Champions. Dilating upon Pakistan’s macro-economic stability and liberal investment policy, the Prime Minister said country’s economic consistency, openness and predictability in policies were vital factors in providing foreign businessmen an enabling environment for their investment.

He said his government was committed to facilitation of business, reforms and deregulation in pursuance of its economic philosophy.
He mentioned Pakistan’s strategic location next to three important regions - South, Central and West Asia, that provided a shortest access to the energy-rich and fast developing Central and Western Asia.
He said for the economic world, the country could prove a bridge, linking to multiple corridors of cooperation in energy, trade, investment, transportation and tourism.
Prime Minister Ashraf said due to macro-economic stability, the country’s economy was expected to grow by over four percent this year. He said country’s banking sector had withstood the global financial crisis of 2008 with the help of its exports that grew by 30 percent in 2011.
On liberal investment policy, he said all sectors of economy were open to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). In addition, there was no restriction on equity as foreigners were permitted hundred percent foreign equity, statutory protection, and high rates of return accrued to investment.
He said there were institutional safeguards provided in the system like Competitive Commission, the Security and Exchange Commission and Central Bank. He said Pakistan had a non-discriminatory investment policy for all countries.
The Prime Minister said Pakistan was a country of 180 million with a growing middle class and an increasing demand for goods and services. He mentioned that abundant and unexploited natural resources including coal, oil, gas, water and irrigation systems and minerals had great potential of exploration.
He said investment in power sector could be made in the areas of solar, wind, renewable energy, solar tubewells, hydro and thermal power generation. He said opportunities also existed in modernization and refurbishment of ports and railways. He informed the Business Group that a Korean company had shown interest in constructing a 300 mega watt solar power plant in Balochistan.
He said recently an upfront tariff had been determined for solar energy plants which would help the investors.
To a question, the Prime Minister said Pakistan was working to have good relations with India including trade ties. He mentioned the recent visit of Indian External Affairs Minister S.M Krishna to Pakistan and the discussions carried out on easing the visa regime and cooperation in agriculture sector.
Regarding facilitating the overseas Pakistanis, Raja Ashraf said their confidence in the country was reflected through increase in remittances.
Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh said the middle class expatriates could benefit from investment in stock exchange.  He said an investment fund was being set up for expatriates. He said housing schemes had been launched to attract investment from expatriates.
There were also a few questions about increasing cultural exchanges with India to which the Prime Minister mentioned a recent agreement. He said relations with India were being improved step-by-step in a positive way.
 
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