Focus on foreign investment


Mar 28 - Apr 03, 2005




To attract foreign investment seems to be the focus of Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz's visit to Oman last week.

He paid a 2-day official visit to state of Oman where besides meeting Sultan Qaboos and his cabinet ministers, the Prime Minister also met the top business slot of the Gulf State "to elaborate investment opportunities and incentives offered to foreign investors in Pakistan.

Before leaving for Oman, he had a meeting with Prince Al Waheed Bin Talal Al Saud of Saudi Arabia - and explained about investment opportunities available in Pakistan. He also addressed the first ever NWFP International Investment Conference, at 156th Islamic Ideology Council during the week.

During his visit to Oman, leaders of the two countries agreed to enhance bilateral relations in all spheres of economic activities. The talks also covered regional and international issues including the prevailing situation in Middle East and Iraq.

"I had a wonderful and meaningful discourse with Sultan Qaboos whose wisdom and sagacity is acclaimed by all of us," Shaukat Aziz said at the Sultan's palace in Nizwa while talking to newsmen. The two leaders discussed the regional issues and the ways to bring Pakistan and Oman closer to each other. Referring to cordial Pak-Oman relations, the two leaders were confident that the existing ties would further strengthened to the benefit of the people of the two Islamic countries in the days to come.

While addressing the business community of the rich Gulf State, Prime Minister observed that wide-ranging reforms, prudent macro-economic policies, financial discipline and consistency of policies over the last five years have transformed Pakistan into an excitingly growing economy. PM said a two pronged strategy of improving country's macroeconomic fundamentals and wide ranging structural reforms in every sector of the economy have rebuild Pakistan's economy on sound footings which is striving for robust growth.

He underlined the improved governance and sustained fiscal policies that have made Pakistan economically stronger and politically stable country. Pakistan now offers the best investment opportunities to foreign investors with attractive returns without any discrimination between local and foreign investors, he added.

On the home front, the Saudi Prince Alwaheed bin Talal during his 2-day visit to Pakistan, called on President Musharraf and the Prime Minister. After his meeting Shaukat Aziz introduced Prince Waheed to the waiting newsmen saying he induced an entrepreneurial spirit in the Islamic World with his ability to invest around the world. He run his affairs professionally and is a leading force in the world of tourism, information technology, entertainment and Media.

Prince Al Waheed bin Talal indicated that his group of companies would invest in Pakistan's tourism sector, construct hotels and look for joint ventures in other areas. Prince Waheed, who is the Chairman of the Kingdom Holding Company, said he has approved a macro study of Pakistan's tourism sector and would invest in international hotels at Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi. The company would purchase, go for alliance or construct new the hotels.

At the concluding session of the first ever 3 day NWFP International Investment Conference, the Prime Minister observed that the government has a priority agenda for next five to 10 years aimed at economic development of the country.

They are the provision of drinking and irrigation water, electricity, gas, and infrastructure of railways, roads and airports in the country. He said that most of the roads in the province have been federalized, and would be constructed by the federal government. Beside this, he said the federal government was also cooperating in getting loans from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank for the province.

About the long-standing demand for the National Finance Commission (NFC) Award, he said the federal government would have no objection to the formula agreed by the four federating units on the NFC Award. The crucial matter of the NFC Award should be resolved through mutual understanding by the federating units, he added.



Addressing the Peshawar Bar Association, the Prime Minister declared that the provision of quick justice to the masses was one of the top priorities of his government, which was seriously considering introducing necessary reforms in the judicial system. "Justice delayed is justice denied". Said the premier adding only those countries went for quick progress where swift justice was ensured to the citizens. "Delay in provision of justice in fact marred the development process of the country", he added. The prime minister sounded optimistic that the proposed reforms in the judicial system would not only further fine tune it but would also go a long way in reducing procedural delays and ensuring transparency in dispensation of quick justice to the people.

Speaking at the 156th meeting of the Islamic Ideology Council in Islamabad, Prime Minister called upon the religious leaders to benefit from the research work carried out on "Ijtehad" by other Islamic states for promoting a progressive culture in the country.

Dispelling the notion of civilization clash between Islam and the West, Prime Minister said that Islam is religion of peace, tolerance and equality. Some quarters with vested interest were hatching conspiracies against Islam. Ummah will have to forge unity among its ranks and rise up to the occasion to fight out the negative tactics, he urged.