PARIS, France: Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani on Wednesday urged foreign businessmen not to fall for propaganda about the security situation in Pakistan and rather invest in diverse sectors for securing tremendous dividends.
He was responding to a query during a Q & A session with the heads of multi-national companies and French and Pakistani businessmen at the office of MEDEF - Mouvement des Entreprises de France (Movement of the French Enterprises), the largest union of employers in France.
Gilani said the perception about Pakistan did not match with the on-ground situation. He urged the western media not to portray Pakistan's negative image but focus on the real picture of the challenges which the country was facing while fighting the issues of terrorism and extremism.
The Prime Minister encouraged the French businessmen to visit Pakistan and see themselves the state of foreign corporations working well in the country under secure conditions.
The representative of Total group said his country was investing in Pakistan for the last 15 years and has 9,000 local people working there. He termed these as an asset for the company and said his company was willing to expand its operations.
He however pointed that corporate tax of 0.5 per cent on total investment was a deterrent in investment.
Prime Minister Gilani said the Total company was also an asset for Pakistan and was contributing to its economy.
He directed the Ministry of Finance to look into the issue and assured that Pakistan would try to do all, despite its constraints.
A representative of Loreal said her company was also facing high taxes and could not compete with locally produced items and urged the Prime Minister for duty cuts to give incentives to investors to develop their products.
Gilani assured that an even playing field would be provided for the Loreal brand and all other local and foreign investors.
Minister of State for Economic Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar asked the French entrepreneurs who had expressed concerns over heavy taxation for foreign investors in Pakistan, to provide detailed proposals either directly to the government or through their embassy so that these might be looked into and considered in the next budget.
She said the government was considering two main factors for the foreign investors; i.e, providing them a level playing field and a consistent policy on tariff regime.
Chairman Pakistan Business Council Kamran Mirza in response to a question said the security conditions were an exaggerated fact as it was not hampering the productivity of international companies already working consistently in Pakistan.
Zakir Mehmood, head of Habib Bank Limited in Paris urged the foreign investors to go for the systemic issues rather than going for the random events in Pakistan. He said the government was doing better careful planning on providing a secure and conducive environment for the foreign investors. He said the visit by investors themselves to Pakistan would definitely indicate to them that reality was different than the negative perception about Pakistan.