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Statement by the Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs at the dinner hosted by the Chairman Board of Investment for Head of Missions of top 20 investor countries in Pakistan

(2017-04-19) Chairman Board of Investment Mr. Miftah Ismael, Distinguished Ambassadors,
Ladies and Gentlemen

Let me at the outset commend the Board of Investment (BOI) for organizing tonight’s event and inviting the Ambassadors and diplomats from leading FDI contributing countries in Pakistan.

As the principal institution mandated to promote investment in the country, BOI has a pivotal role in highlighting investment opportunities and facilitating investment.

Distinguished guests

Pakistan is strategically located at Asia,s premier trade, energy and transport corridor. It is also the gateway to the energy rich Central Asian States, the financially liquid Gulf States. This strategic advantage alone makes Pakistan a location full of opportunities.

Today, after four years of the present government, I can say with satisfaction, that we have laid the foundation of sustained growth through improved prospects of trade and investment. In this endeavor, we have surpassed five important milestones:

i. Firstly, we successfully countered the menace of terrorism and violent extremism in the country. The operation Zarb-e-Azb, initiated in June 2014, eliminated terror network which operated from our tribal areas, while the ongoing operations under the National Action Plan and Radul Fasad are successfully eliminating the off shoots and remnants of such networks from our urban centers and the country side. As a result, the security situation has improved, creating favourable environment for revival of the economy and investment.

ii. Secondly, we have achieved political stability through strengthening of democratic institutions, characterized by robust parliamentary oversight, an active judiciary and free media. This has improved overall governance in the country.

iii. Thirdly, we have earnestly followed devolution of powers to the federating units, as enshrined in the 18th amendment of the constitution. This has empowered provinces to not only undertake regulatory reforms but also conceive and implement development programmes tailored to the local needs and aspirations.

iv. Fourthly, the government is following prudent economic policies. Pakistan has made enormous progress in restoring macroeconomic stability, a key prerequisite for further economic success. The growing remittances from overseas contribute to over 6% of the country’s GDP. Pakistan’s economy continues to perform well for the 4th year in a row with real GDP expected to grow about 5.2 percent this year, highest in eight years. The economic challenges faced by the country when government took over were grave but we have recovered strongly and are now on a path to stability and higher growth.

v. Finally, various projects in energy and infrastructure under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) are nearing fruition. This is easing the energy shortfall and promoting connectivity within the country. We hope that CPEC will be catalytic towards further foreign direct investment in the country.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Pakistan is blessed with lot of mineral resources. One of the biggest coal reserves in the world is located in Thar, Pakistan. Huge Copper alongwith gold reserves are also available in the country.

Pakistan is ranked 3rd in Copper with estimated reserves of 1,352 MMT, 5th in Iron Ore with estimated reserves of 430 MMT, 5th in Coal with estimated reserves of 186 MMT, 2nd in Salt with estimated reserves of 100 MMT.

We have 56,000 Kms of irrigation canals network in Sindh and Punjab provinces which makes Pakistan one of the largest producers of wheat, rice, milk, cotton, mangoes, citrus and many other agricultural commodities in the world.

Pakistan is ranked 4th in Cotton production, 4th in Milk production, 8th in Wheat production, 9th in meat production and 11th in Rice production.

We have more than 1,000 km long coastline allowing incomparable opportunities in shipping, tourism, fishing and wind power.

On the Indus river cascade and its tributaries, we can produce upto 30,000 MWs of hydel electricity.

Pakistan is blessed with one of the world’s best locations for solar power and wind power generation. Some foreign companies are already successfully working in these areas.

Pakistan has potential of generating 340 GW of power from Wind and 2900 GW of power from Solar.

We have started importing LNG which will be used by the power sector. This will help in reducing the Power shortage as well on re-invigorating of the economy in the country. The first LNG terminal with the capability to re-gasify the LNG has started working in Karachi.

Pakistan possesses a large pool of trained and experienced engineers, bankers, lawyers and other professionals with many having substantial international experience.

Our Investment Policy has been designed to provide a comprehensive framework for creating a favorable business environment for attracting FDI. Pakistan has one of the most investor friendly regimes in this region. There is no restriction on repatriation of profits and dividends and a liberal policy for employing foreign experts.

In Pakistan private sector brings with it higher international competitiveness. The government's policies as they now stand offer a market-driven and pragmatic approach supported by an evolving institutional framework that facilitates free regional trade, investment flows and labor mobility throughout Asia.

We hope that foreign investors will take advantage of vast potential that Pakistan offers. Your role as distinguished Ambassadors of your respective countries is critical to forging investment based partnerships. We, in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as the Board of Investment are always ready to facilitate such partnerships.

I would conclude by reiterating that our government is fully committed to unleash the full potential of our economy and work with our international partners and the private sectors to build a strong, stable and economically vibrant Pakistan.