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Pakistan open for investment, Aziz tells Kuwait

Daily Times, Pakistan

Pakistan open for investment, Aziz tells Kuwait

Staff Report

21 June 2006

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz has assured investors from Kuwait’s private and public sectors that Pakistan is open for business.

“Pakistan is open for business. Join Pakistan in its journey towards peace, prosperity and development,” the prime minister said while addressing the Pakistan-Kuwait Investment Conference on Tuesday. “Each and every sector of the economy is open.”

Pakistan and Kuwait signed agreements on Monday evening to enhance bilateral cooperation in trade and investment. These included a memorandum of understanding on the establishment of an oil refinery in Port Qasim. Aziz said that the government and people of Pakistan regarded the visit of Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah as “a turning point in already-cordial relations”.

“The visit and mutual cooperation will bring the two brotherly countries much closer,” he said. Deregulation, liberalisation and privatisation were core elements of the strategy pursued by the government and had resulted in an average growth of seven percent in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the last four years, he said.

“We, along with the rest of the world, are witnessing with considerable admiration Pakistan’s policies towards economic openness. This admiration has led the Kuwaiti private sector to respond instantly by investing in various sectors in the country,” the Kuwaiti amir said.

He said that the economic benefit of investment should be based on the principle of exchange, cooperation, confidence and taking into consideration that the investment is made for the long term. “The ultimate aim of investment is to maximise profit and achieve a positive return,” he told the conference, which was also attended by Pakistan’s Minister for Privatisation and Investment Zahid Hameed, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Amanullah Khan Jadoon, State Minister for Privatisation and Investment Umar Ahmad Ghuman, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Khusro Bakhtiar and over 100 representatives of the private sectors of Pakistan and Kuwait.

He said that the conference demonstrated the stable relationship between Pakistan and Kuwait on the political, economic and cultural fronts. An official of the Board of Investment said that Pakistan expected foreign direct investment of $2-3 billion from Kuwait in the next two to three years. The government would negotiate with Kuwait’s private sector for investment in diversified sectors, he said.

He said that working groups had been formed to discuss the possibility of investing in power, oil and gas exploration, construction and real estate, information technology and telecom, tourism, agriculture, trade and commerce, shrimp farming, mines and minerals.