ISLAMABAD: Inviting foreign investment in infrastructure, power and natural resource sectors, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif stressed on Monday that Pakistan encourages investment not only as a tool of economic development but also as a means of “friendly, long-term cooperation”.
Opening the first International Investment Conference being organised by the Board of Investment (BoI), the prime minister observed that “not in too distant a future, we may find ourselves proudly claiming that we all lent a hand in enabling Pakistan to prosper”.
He said Pakistan is widely recognised as a country which offers the most liberal foreign investment regime in the region. The expanding middle class has increased the market size that promises healthy returns in consumer goods sectors, he said.
The prime minister told investors that the country is evolving into a mature and pluralistic democratic polity, and his government was very well cognisant of the deficiencies inherent in the system.
The government was positively responding to the impending social change through economic development, he said, but added that the economic prosperity will be achieved through “political maturity”.
“The road lying ahead is indeed laden with massive challenges and expectations, but the government has embarked upon it with patience and prudence,” he said.
He said the gradual but steady escalation in the baseline profitability index (BPI) strongly signifies Pakistan as an attractive investment proposition, including a long-term business association.
Stringent monitoring of vital ingredients required for realising higher rates of return on investment — such as stable economic growth, capital controls and exchange rates — are visibly showing healthy upward trends, he said.
“Our government’s effective arrest of unprecedented decline in the value of the local currency managed to bring about an equally unheard rise in the value of rupee estimated to be more than 10 per cent against major currencies.”
The prime minister informed investors that the government has created space for investment by carrying forward privatisation of ailing public-sector entities. “We are very transparently disposing of partial equity in large-scale enterprises, the latest being that of OGDCL and PPL.”
He invited investors to participate in this initiative and discover for themselves the financial feasibility and productivity of investing here.
During plenary sessions, federal ministers for petroleum and natural resources and water and power gave briefings to foreign investors on the prospective projects in Pakistan.
Petroleum Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in his presentation highlighted the incentives for refinery projects, LNG terminals, and gas pipeline projects. He spoke about four planned LNG terminals, out of which one under construction fast-track terminal to handle 400 million cubic feet of gas per day (mmcfd) LNG to be completed in February next year.
He said Pakistan currently requires four million tonnes of LNG with a target of 15m tonnes by 2017.
Secretary Water and Power Mohammad Younus Dagha highlighted government’s policy on private investment in power sector, and said private investment in Pakistan is a “success story” with an investment of $9,639m in 29 projects producing 8,657MW.
He invited foreigners to invest in the 6,600MW power park in Gadani which has an indicative investment of $13.8 billion. He also highlighted the Thar coal mining and power generation projects and investment opportunities in power projects initiated by governments of Punjab and Sindh.
Published in Dawn, October 28th, 2014