ISLAMABAD: The German airline Lufthansa is keen on resuming flight operations to Pakistan after 13 years, a high-level business delegation from Germany informed the Board of Investment (BoI) on Tuesday.
The German business delegation that included Lufthansa representatives told BoI Secretary Fareena Mazhar the airline — second largest in Europe in terms of passengers carried — was seriously considering resuming flight operations to Pakistan.
The airline had halted operations due to commercial reasons but now is interested not only in passenger flights but also willing to start cargo flights, the delegation said.
The 16-member German delegation — led by German-Emirati Joint Council for Industry and Commerce (AHK) CEO Oliver Oehms — included representatives of several business giants like Lufthansa, AHK, SIG MEA, Weidmuller Middle, Emltc Emerging Solutions, among others. All these companies have a prominent presence in most parts of the world and are visiting Pakistan to analyse the business climate and explore lucrative investment opportunities in the country.
German-Emirati business ogranisation considers Pakistan a ‘sleeping giant’, seeks investments in country
AHK was founded in May 2009 and is fully integrated with the German Industry and Commerce Office. It is the first bilateral federal business organisation as well as the first international institution on federal level which has been founded in the Gulf.
AHK considers Pakistan a “sleeping giant” which has been able to attract some attention among international businesses recently, not at least within the ones overlooking the region from the UAE.
With its dynamic demographics and the strong desire to catch up on domestic consumption and investments, it is triggering imports and local manufacturing alike, the organisation noted.
With the purpose of preparing for a systematic outreach of AHK in Pakistan from 2022 onwards, the group was taking the German business delegation to Karachi and Islamabad.
The BoI secretary offered to arrange a meeting of the delegation with the aviation minister to ensure that the plan materialises soon. Last week, German Ambassador Bernhard Stephan Schlagheck held detailed meeting with Ms Mazhar to discuss the prospects of German airlines to start flights to Pakistan.
The German delegation expressed keen interest in dairy industry, communication, automobile and service sector as potential sectors in regards to investment in Pakistan.
The visit has come about as an encouraging prospect for Pakistan in terms of attracting new investment in several sectors and has been termed as a positive sign for the country’s economy, according to the BoI secretary.
During the meeting, Ms Mazhar briefed the delegation on Pakistan’s investment policy which has been formulated to create an investor friendly environment to attract foreign direct investment and provide equal treatment to foreign and local investors.
She mentioned food processing, automotive, information technology, energy, textiles, logistics and housing and construction sectors as some of the potential sectors for investment in Pakistan.
She further added that BoI is leading the Pakistan Regulatory Modernisation Initiative (PRMI) which was launched by the prime minister of Pakistan in order to make the regulatory environment friendly and aims to transform the regulatory landscape across all tiers of government; federal, provincial and local.
Ms Fareena also highlighted the tax incentives available to investors in the 22 special economic zones (SEZs) approved by BOI across Pakistan including Allama Iqbal Industrial City, Rashakai SEZ, Khairpur SEZ, M3 Industrial City Faisalabad, National Science and technology Park, Hattar SEZ.
Discussing the Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) reforms during the interaction, the BoI secretary underlined Pakistan’s improvement of 39 positions in Ease of Doing Business Index. She was confident that the rating would further improve in World Bank’s Doing Business Report of 2021.
Expressing her satisfaction on the total Pak-German trade volume worth $2,659 million, she said that she was optimistic about further improvement in business volume between the two countries in foreseeable future.
Published in Dawn, September 15th, 2021