Pakistani Finance Minister In Jeddah
|Minister for Finance, Mr.Shaukat Aziz,
has advised Pakistani professionals and investors abroad, particularly in the GCC
countries to be the ambassadors of Pakistan and to help project a positive image of the
country. Addressing members of the Pakistan Executives Group (PEG) in Jeddah, at the
Sheraton Hotel last night, Mr.Shaukat Aziz welcomed efforts by PEG to help promote
investments into the country, by Saudi investors and entrepreneurs. He emphasized that in
this regard, Pakistani professionals living in Saudi Arabia should adopt a more focused
approach, and help promote investment into the I.T., agriculture and privatization
sectors. He assured the gathering that even though Pakistan was facing a serious debt
profile the country was well on its way to slow but steady recovery; and added that the
impression that Pakistan was close to bankruptcy was completely false. Mr.Ahsan Rashid,
member of the Executive Committee of PEG, made a comprehensive presentation to the
Minister and his delegation. Mr.Rashid told the Minister that PEG has been formed by
Pakistani professionals in decision making positions in the Kingdom to specifically
identify and provide two-way investment opportunities in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, and to
help promote trade of goods and services between the two countries. He said if properly
motivated and mobilized, overseas Pakistanis can play a constructive role in the
development of Pakistan. He identified the core areas in which Pakistani professionals and
decision makers can assist Pakistan in its development plans. These are: promoting exports
of goods and services; increasing remittances through legal channels; mobilizing funds for
investments by overseas Pakistanis; the transfer of management and technical skills to
Pakistan and the setting up of a development investment fund of up to US$ 50 million for
selective investment in Pakistan. The secretary of the Board of Investment, Mr.Waseem
Hakki in his address assured PEG members that some far reaching and revolutionary steps
were being taken to attract foreign investment in Pakistan. He said these included the
targeting of 10 specific countries including USA, UK, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries,
to tap investments; the identification of 8 to 10 sectors for investment including
agro-based, service and non-manufacturing sectors; the provision of adequate guarantees
for the remittance of royalties and professional fees; easy procurement of entry visas and
establishment of welcoming desks at airports. He said the current investment policy of
Pakistan has a definite edge over countries in the region. Mr.Hakki said that the Board of
Investment (BOI) was being totally re-structured along the lines of corporate culture to
make it more efficient and effective. He said current investment into Pakistan amounted to
about US$ 5 billion - 2/3rd coming from USA, UK and the rest from Malaysia, South Africa
and Islamic countries. The function was also attended by the Minister for Privatisation,
Mr.Saleem Altaf, the Ambassador of Pakistan to Saudi Arabia, H.E. General (Rtd.) Assad
Durrani and the Consul General, Mr.Rizwan Ul Haq. The welcoming address, at the start of
the function was delivered by Mr.Mohsen Parvez.
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