By Mian Fazal Elahi
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said that Pakistan offers business friendly environment and space for foreign direct investment without any restrictions. This he said while addressing the inaugural ceremony of International Investment Conference (IIC) held in Islamabad, he said board of investment has been made the high level one window agency to facilitate investors in planning and implementing their ventures. The Prime Minister further said that the gradual but steady growth in the baseline profitability index strongly signifies Pakistan as an attractive investment proposition. The PM said that Pakistan was widely liberal foreign investment regime in the regime adding that the investment incentives in Pakistan were diverse and highly business friendly. He further said that Pakistan was offering prospects of co-production, joint ventures with local partners. We are allowing one hundred percent foreign equity and no limit on repatriation of profits particularly in large scale infrastructure and manufacturing sectors. Tax concessions and exemptions are also available to specific businesses. He said the potential growth sectors such as infrastructure, power and natural resources are open to large scale investment. He said we also provide exclusive economic zones and infrastructure subsidies as well as research and development support. Nawaz Sharif, referring to the steps taken by the government over the last fifteen months to improve economy, said their priority has been to implement a comprehensive macro-economic course, stipulating increase in revenue, controlling expenditure and reducing fiscal deficit. We have devised a vast development portfolio aimed at upgrading the national infrastructure. He said our efforts have successfully stabilized currency, increased foreign exchange reserves and controlled inflation. He added that the government was mindful of the vast gap between production and requirement of energy. Therefore, the government has planned installation of all kinds of power generation units to boost energy production. We have added fifteen hundred megawatt of operational capacity to our national grid and have put in pipeline numerous projects whose production will soon outstrip demand. We plan privatizing power distribution network along with rationalization of tariff that will make investment in power sector very attractive. The Prime Minister said the government has also tried to create space for investment by carrying forward the process of privatization. We are transparently disposing off partial equity in large scale public sector enterprises. We have invited our private sector to set up a LNG import terminal to replace costly furnace oil power generation. He said we will soon build an LNG terminal at Gwadar port. Earlier, Chairman of Board of Investment Miftah Ismail in his welcome address highlighted the investment opportunities in different sectors and said that the government was seeking new investment in coal, mines and hydro power sectors.
President Mamnoon Hussain has also expressed confidence that the successful organization of International Investment Conference would open up new avenues for investment in Pakistan for international investors. Meanwhile, the foreign investors from dozens of countries participating in the two-day international investment conference have termed Pakistan as the best place for investment, keeping in view the potential, atmosphere, incentives and investment-friendly policies of the government. Talking to foreign media the foreign investors said that Pakistan had huge potential and anyone from anywhere would like to explore it to boost investments. More than 350 invitees including 241 foreign investors from all continents of the world are participating in the conference. Foreign delegation head and President and Chief Executive Officer Al-Wasmiya Group of Companies Bahrain, Khan Mohammad Tanoli said that Pakistan was the best choice for investment and there was no country better than it if they think of investment. He further said that activities like this conference will play a great role in building Pakistan’s positive image across the globe. He also stressed on promoting the positivities of Pakistan to bring into the investments. Tanoli said that the opportunities offered by Pakistan were no where available in any part of the world. Garry from PASCOE Electricity England, said that they were very impressed by the hospitality and were feeling safe, confident and secure to explore investment opportunities in this country. He added that he was eager to explore investment opportunities and invest in energy sector. Moreover, he said that he found Pakistan very different from the image which was being portrayed in the West. Hamza M. Ateyatallah, Director Business Development, Cellmec Simply Dependable Bahrain, said that Pakistan was the best place for investment however, due to lack of information people were reluctant to come here for investment. However, he added that there happened to be ups and downs and hoped that Pakistan would overcome all problems and continue its journey towards progress and development.