KARACHI: Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said that because of consistency of policies and a wide-ranging structural reform agenda based on de-regulation, liberalization, privatization and transparency Pakistan has become a destination of choice for investors.The Prime Minister said this while talking to Mr. Moriji Kanada, President Metal One Corporation of Japan, a subsidiary of Mitsubishi and Sojitz groups, who called on him at the Governor’s House Karachi, on Thursday. This is the world’s largest steel trading company with an annual turnover of $24 billion, who have invested in a modern steel plant to be built at Karachi.
The Prime Minister said that record foreign investment of $8.4 billion in Pakistan last year clearly indicates the trust of investors in the policies initiated by the present government. He said that now Pakistan stands on a solid footing and has strong fundamentals as well as substantive structural reforms to attract more investments in days to come. The Prime Minister said that all the economic indicators are showing positive trend in Pakistan and during the last five years the per capita income and size of the economy have doubled. Currency is strong, reserves have crossed $16 billion, exports and remittances have increased while inflation and poverty are reducing, he added.
The Prime Minister said that Pakistan has a unique demographic advantage over other countries of having 100 million of its population below the age of 25. Because of the economic turnaround achieved by Pakistan during the last five years the middle class is growing and the country offers attractive investment opportunities in several sectors including telecom, IT, oil and gas, financial services, engineering, agribusiness and real estate, he added.
The Prime Minister also mentioned that Pakistan’s location at the confluence of three of the most important regions of the world i.e. Central Asia, South Asia and Middle East also give the country a competitive edge over other countries in the region. The Prime Minister said that because of high economic growth during the last few years and expansion in various fields particularly the construction sector, the demand for steel products in the country has sharply increased. The Prime Minister also said the government is also improving the end to end logistics chain in Pakistan to improve productivity and competitiveness of the industrial sector. Under the National Trade Corridor plan, he said, improvements are being made in the system of railways, roads and highways.
The Prime Minister said that government has recently launched the Vision 2030 programme aiming at complete socio-economic transformation of the country and envisaging a developed, industrialized, prosperous Pakistan through rapid and sustainable development. Talking about Pakistan’s relations with Japan the Prime Minister said that Pakistan and Japan have always enjoyed close bilateral relations and the two countries should work for further strengthening of the existing relations to open up new vistas of cooperation and understanding in all fields.The Prime Minister said Japan is an important trade and development partner of Pakistan as it has always supported us in challenging times and provided the largest number of development loans.
The Prime Minister said that Pakistan has some of the most revered Buddhist sites in the northern parts of the country, which attract many tourists each year. He said that Pakistan appreciates the investment of the Mitsubishi group in Pakistan and hoped that the group would avail more business opportunities in the country. The Prime Minister was apprised that Cold Roll Steel Mill whose ground breaking ceremony would take place later today will produce a type of steel not currently under production in Pakistan. Besides its import substitution benefits, the project will generate employment opportunities.
Mr. Moriji Kanada told the Prime Minister that this would be the fifth venture the group is undertaking in Pakistan. He also briefed the Prime Minister about the details of the project and appreciated the economic policies of the government. Other members of the delegation included Mr. Masaharu Domichi, Country Head, Mitsubishi Corporation and Mr. Yoshikazu Uda, Chairman Aisha Steel Mills Ltd. Special Assistant to the Prime Minister, Commander (Retd) Khalil ur Rahman, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, Mr. Tariq Azeem Khan and senior officials also attended the meeting.