ISLAMABAD: Decla­ring 2020 the “year of industrialisation”, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday invited foreign investors to invest in Pakistan, particularly in the automobile sector, as the government is pursuing an effective policy of ease of doing business in the country.

“Our government is removing impediments and red tape to make it easier for investors to make a profit in Pakistan as 2020 is all about creating wealth through industrialisation,” the prime minister said while addressing the Country Strategy Dialogue on Pakistan held by the World Economic Forum virtually.

The prime minister termed US-Taliban talks a big achievement of US President Donald Trump and urged president-elect Joe Biden not to reverse the dialogue process.

Talking about the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Mr Khan said if sanctions were lifted from Iran then Pakistan, having a special strategic location, would have connectivity from north to south and east to west.

Highlights investment opportunities in CPEC II in his virtual address to WEF dialogue

He said in the 1960s, Pakistan was a model for the developing world because of rapid industrialisation, but in the 1970s it became socialist and “profit-making almost became a crime”.

The prime minister said his was the first government in Pakistan since the 1960s which had made it a point to make profit-making easy for people ... and investors.

“Our government took about one-and-a-half years to eliminate the hurdles and red tape in the construction sector and it is trying to do the same for small and medium enterprises and capital markets,” he said, adding that foreign investors had a big room for investment in Pakistan.

The Pakistan of 2020 was all about creating wealth through industrialisation and then using that wealth to lift the people out of poverty, he said.

The prime minister said that CPEC was not exclusive to China and any other country could also become its part.

“The CPEC’s second phase is more than regional connectivity and involves special economic zones, agriculture and technology institutes that can help with digitalisation of the economy,” he added.

He said the biggest problem Pakistan was facing was “very expensive energy”, adding that because of the power contracts signed in the past, the country was producing 25 per cent more expensive energy than India or Bangladesh.

He said the high energy costs had impeded industrialisation which in turn had badly affected wealth creation and poverty alleviation. “Therefore, our biggest challenge has been to provide affordable energy to our industry.”

Published in Dawn, November 26th, 2020


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