ISLAMABAD: President Mamnoon Hussain has said that Azerbaijan and Nigeria are interested in purchasing Pakistani defence products, including the upgraded JF-17 fighter aircraft.

“Azerbaijan and Nigeria will soon become buyers of Pakistani products,” he said during a meeting with a delegation of Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) at the Presidency.

He said Nigeria had expressed its desire to buy Pakistani defence products, including JF-17 Thunder and Mashaq aircraft.

Referring to his recent visit to Azerbaijan, the president said he had discussed ways of enhancing cooperation between the two countries in different areas.

He said Azerbaijan did not allow foreign banks to operate unless they show $50 million as equity but at his request it had allowed the National Bank of Pakistan to function with $10 million of equity.

“Exporters should benefit from such developments in friendly countries,” he said.

Talking about the government’s economic policies, the president said the priority was to extend all possible facilities to business community. “Reduction of power tariff by Rs3 per unit for industrial sector is a part of this facilitation process,” he added.

The government has been in constant contact with the business community to address different issues in cooperation with them. “The country’s exports have witnessed increase consequent to the facilities extended by the government to the business community,” he said.

The Ministry of Commerce has approved a three-year policy framework after consultation with all stakeholders to promote business activities and bring an end to unemployment.

He said restoration of law and order was inevitable for stabilising economy and enhancing trade activities in the country, adding that measures were being taken to eradicate terrorism. He reiterated the government’s resolve to continue the Zarb-i-Azb military operation and uproot terrorism.

The president said the government was determined to end the energy crisis. “Construction of dams has been started and the government was taking full advantage of solar energy,” he said.

Urging the business community to enhance exports, the president said the government had signed free trade agreements with a number of countries and now the business community should benefit from all the agreements to boost exports.

“Recent 21 per cent increase in exports to the European Union is encouraging.”

Published in Dawn, January 9th, 2016

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