Energy, security biggest obstacles to investment

* President says public-private partnership can produce better results in trade promotion, economic uplift * Calls for setting up centralised electronic database on investment policies

LAHORE: President Mamnoon Hussain on Saturday said the revival of national economy by ensuring an investment and business-friendly atmosphere was top priority of the government.
The president told the 2nd LCCI OIC Ambassador Conference-2014 held at the local hotel that effective measures were being put in place to overcome the energy shortage as well as improvement of law and order. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) was now scaling up due to viable policies of the government, he added.
The president said the LCCI was playing a crucial role in Pakistan’s overall economic development and congratulated its office-bearers and other quarters concerned for successful holding of the second OIC trade conference. The government, he said, was aware of the problems of business community and was taking solid steps accordingly for their early and durable solution.
Mamnoon said all resources were being mobilised for provision of an atmosphere conducive to the business community as well as improvement of law and order. All available means are being explored and utilised for energy generation because the government was committed to transforming Pakistan into a business and investment friendly country, he added.
The president termed public-private partnership need of the hour, which, according to him, could produce better results in all sectors of the economy. He said there were vast opportunities in areas of energy, infrastructure, rail and roads, and assured that the government would extend all-out support for investment in these sectors. Special attention was being given to the agriculture and livestock, which could jack up the process of economic development in the country, he observed.
Mamnoon said the OIC states had great potential for economic cooperation with their immense natural and human resources, but unfortunately intra-OIC trade did not reflect this potential.
He said, “The LCCI 2nd OIC Trade & Investment Conference is a giant leap towards bringing the members of the Organising of Islamic Countries in close proximity. Such initiatives would not only enhance trade and economic cooperation between the Muslim countries, but would also pave the way for progress and prosperity in the Muslim countries.”
Mamnoon said role of the private sector must be emphasised in trade promotion and economic development and it had to be involved by the governments of the OIC member states in their endeavours to achieve this goal.
“There was a dire need of a centralised electronic database on trade, investment policies and tariffs etc. There might be frequent trade exhibitions and interaction amongst the chambers and the governments of these Muslim brotherly countries,” he added.
The president said the Pak-China Economic Corridor would usher in a new era of economic development in the whole region as it would not only benefit Pakistan and China, but also Middle East, Central Asian Republics and other neighbouring countries.
He said efforts were being made to improve the energy and security situation in the country that were the biggest impediment to foreign investment and it was not the GDP alone that would get a boost but foreign investment would also increase considerably in next few years.
He said presently Pakistani merchandise were going to 216 countries, but the 70 per cent of the total trade was with only 20 countries that should be expanded.
The president said, “It is the utmost desire of Pakistan that the trade among the OIC countries may flourish. I see it expand further and the OIC Bloc being the second biggest bloc emerging as a big economic power on the economic map of the world. Pakistan wants unity amongst the Muslim countries as harmony is the key to every success.”
He said the OIC member states had to increase their inter and intra trade and added that the groups like GCC, D-8, ECO and African Union could be more interactive within themselves and with the rest of the groups for a healthier economic activity. 

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