Posted by: Administrator | 2 January, 2005

President’s Address at Expo 2005

2 February 2005

President Gen Pervez Musharraf urged foreign investors on Wednesday to help Pakistan fight extremism and terrorism by investing and creating more jobs to alleviate poverty. President Musharraf said that Pakistan was a rising economy and poised to serve as a regional hub of trade and economic activities. Pakistan is a victim of wrong perceptions abroad.

The visiting foreign delegates can help us correct perceptions. EXPO can do a lot in this regard. Business community can help fighting extremism indirectly by creating jobs and alleviate poverty. We provide best conditions for investment namely: Security of investment, return of capital up to 50%, stability and predictability of economy, availability of liquidity, infra-structure and cheap labour. The important he mentioned for investment include Agriculture, Textile, Telecom and IT, Energy sector, Service industry and construction and building industry. “I say to foreign investors … contribute indirectly in fighting extremism and terrorism by creating more jobs and alleviating poverty,” Musharraf said at the inauguration of Expo 2005 trade fair here.

“You can help by investing in Pakistan and increasing imports from here,” he told delegates at the fair designed to attract foreign investors. Musharraf said that Pakistan had been striving to project itself as moderate and stable because there was a misperception abroad about the Muslim country. “It is a new Pakistan, it is not floundering, drifting or sailing…it is a victim of wrong perceptions abroad,” he said, adding: “It is vastly a moderate country, however, it is a misfortune that a small minority of extremists has taken a vast majority of moderates hostage (but) we are in a process of getting this right.”

He recounted a host of economic achievements Pakistan had made in recent years and said its geostrategic location, consistency of policies and development of a wide communication infrastructure under way, would turn the country into a centre of trade. “Pakistan must also be seen as a regional hub for its key geo-strategic location, it will serve as centre of trade between Central Asia, the Gulf, the Western parts of China and South Asia,” he added.

The president also underscored that Pakistan was a vastly moderate country, where greater investment would be vitally helpful in reducing poverty and curbing extremism. “The entrepreneurs, traders, exporters and businessmen contribute indirectly to fighting extremism as investment widens the industrial base, creates jobs, reduces poverty, and thus curbs the menace of extremism.”

The president expressed the hope that the five-day mega event would help clear misperceptions about the country, which suffers from a wrong image but where the reality is far better. “I have a strong hope that this landmark event will help correct misperceptions about the country, and project the reality of Pakistan, which is much better,” he said. Pakistan, he said, is on the forefront in the fight against terrorism and the government is striving for a societal transformation so that the vast majority may get voice and contain extremist minority.

He said Pakistan holds out great promise for investors as it offers a conducive environment, where investment enjoys legal protection and foreign entrepreneurs enjoy level-playing field and labour is talented but inexpensive. President Pervez Musharraf said the investors look at two elements, while investing in any country and they are security of their investment and return on his investment.

The president said that never in the past any foreign investment was harmed in Pakistan even during the nationalisation in the 1970s, none of the foreign firm was nationalised. He assured that their investment would be secure. Regarding security, the president made it clear that there was no terrorism in any part of the country, including Karachi, Lahore, Faisalabad, Gujranwala. “These are the places where business activities are flourishing.” He said Pakistan has been able to break the back of extremism and terrorism from this country. “Let me assure you with full confidence that your investment will be secure in Pakistan,” he added.

Referring to profitability, he said Pakistan offers more profitability if compared with the developed as well as developing countries. He said that most of the 600 to 700 companies were making profits in double-digit, some of them even at a rate of 50 per cent. “Where in the world you can get return on your investment in double digit,” he questioned.

Talking of the stability and predictability of the country’s economy, Musharraf said Pakistan’s economy was fully stable today. “The country is progressing at a growth rate of 6.7 per cent and expected to touch 7.5 per cent in the coming years. Country’s debt has been reduced for the first time in its history and sufficient funds were available for development. Exports which were estimated at $7.8 billion in 1999, will be touching $ 14 billion this year.

Similarly, stock market was booming in the country and Karachi Stock Exchange has become the best performing capital market in the world,” he observed. Regarding inflation he said it has been contained while the exchange rate was extremely stable. He pointed out that Pakistan’s ranking has been upgraded by both the Moody’s and the S&P. “All this shows that all economic indicators are positive and country’s economy was progressing.”

He said that all sectors of the economy were open for foreign investors as well as they are available to local investors. He said Pakistan offers 100 per cent equity to foreign investment with the facility of repatriation of capital and profit on investment. The President said that banks were now more liquid and going after customers compared to past, when customers were running after the banks. He added that Pakistan, due to its strategic location, was offering its territories as a hub of trading and industrial activities in the region.

Talking of development of communication infrastructure, Musharraf said that Pakistan was developing a most modern port at Gwadar to berth large vessels and oil tankers. This port will be connected with Afghanistan, Iran and Central Asian Republics with the help of three link roads, he said, adding that 400 kilometres section of the Karakoram Highway was being expanded to establish an improved link with China.

He said Pakistan alone was offering a market of 150 million people which is a big market for any business and commercial activity. Referring to the manpower availability in Pakistan, President Musharraf said that average per-hour rate of labour in Pakistan was $0.37 while it was $0.58 in India, $0.67 in China and $30 in Germany. He said that qualified manpower was also available in Pakistan. The president said that tremendous scope was available in dairy and livestock.

He said Pakistan was textile country with 60 per cent share in the total exports. “We are enhancing our capacity in textile sector as $ 4 billion have been invested in textile machinery.” He said Pakistan was telephone hungry country with low tele-density. Telecommunication sector was witnessing a boom in the country, he noted. He noted that Pakistan was blessed with rivers to produce tremendous amount of hydro electricity which is the cheapest source of energy.

“Similarly, we have one of the biggest reserves of coal and can generate energy from this source. But now we are putting a 600 megawatts plant.” He said Pakistan was preparing an energy strategy, which will offer tremendous opportunities in this sector. President pointed out that vast opportunities existed in hotel development and construction sectors.

Appreciating the efforts of Commerce Minister Humayun Akhtar Khan and the EPB chairman in organizing the show in a befitting manner, he said, this landmark event will help change the image of Pakistan in the outside world. This exhibition will serve as forum to correct the perception and to project the reality about Pakistan into the world. “Since 77 countries are represented here, you should take back the impression that you gain from our country by seeing it yourselves on the ground.” Earlier, the commerce minister said that it would be an annual event to showcase all major products of Pakistan under one roof.

Chairman EPB said that 1,152 foreign visitors from 77 countries were attending Expo-Pakistan 2005. The governors of Sindh and the Punjab, the Sindh chief minister, federal and provincial ministers were also present on the occasion. The Present later also gave away memento to event managers. On the occasion a spectacular display of firework and music finale was also held.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: