Pakistan should join the South Asia Regional Energy
Coalition (SAREC) to influence regional energy policy as SAREC is the
right body through which this goal could be achieved.
These views were expressed by Mr Aram B Zamgochian,
Project Director, SAREC, while talking to LCCI President Mian Misbahur
LCCI Vice President Sheikh Mohammad Arshad and
Executive Committee member Mohsin Banday also attended the meeting.
Mr Aram B Zamgochian said that SAREC's primary
mission is to focus on and promote the concept of an integrated South
Asia energy market and for this purpose it is necessary to cultivate
and facilitate cooperative relations among South Asia's national and
bi-national business organizations through the leadership support of
US Chamber of Commerce.
He said that SAREC is funded by USAID through its
South Asia Regional Initiative for Energy Cooperation and Development
(SARI/energy). He said SAREC has partners in India, Bangladesh, Sri
Lanka, Nepal and there is no representation of Pakistan and it is the
need of the hour that Islamabad should join the SAREC club to promote
the concept of an integrated South Asia energy market.
Mr Aram B Zamgochian said that with the help of
SAREC Pakistan could not only diversify traditional energy supplies
but could also promote expansion of indigenous energy resources,
besides getting additional foreign investment for energy
Speaking on the occasion, the LCCI President, Mian
Misbahur Rehman, promised to extend total cooperation saying that
expansion of regional energy trade and investment is gaining
importance with every passing day.
He said that due to high energy consumption,
Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal are already running
short of it and it is high time that the issue of trade and investment
in the energy and power sectors should be taken up seriously and
Mian Misbah said that the SAREC could not only help
develop effective public-private partnerships to enhance interest in
energy and power sectors but would also encourage the flow of
The LCCI President said that in order to meet our
requirement for energy Pakistani businessmen should also focus on
conservation of energy in industries and other uses. Building designs,
even in the major cities are wasteful of energy. Even buildings
constructed by professionals lack basic energy conservation concept.
Despite subsidized electrical energy and gas at half the international
price the cost of manufacturing major items is higher than the cost of
imported items. A lot of energy is wasted particularly in the textile
sector as entrepreneurs refuse to use energy-efficient processes for
production of electrical energy and steam or hot water so essential
for textile finishing. The LCCI President also stressed the need for
creating awareness about energy deficit and its causes.
Meanwhile, a high-powered nine-member LCCI
delegation, which is on a three-country visit to Sri Lanka, Singapore
and Malaysia, during the first leg of their visit signed a MoU with
National Chamber of Commerce, Colombo, in order to enhance the
cooperation and develop business relations between the two countries
as well as the both organizations.
The delegation held meetings at Ceylon Chamber of
Commerce. The head of the delegation, LCCI Senior Vice President
Sohail Lashari, also invited the Sri Lankan business community to come
to Pakistan and invest in different potential sectors like textile,
leather, IT, food and food processing, tourism, etc.
He said that Pakistan has transformed itself into a
stable regional economy and an investment friendly state. Sohail
Lashari said that it is high time that the foreign investors should
take advantage of the situation by making investment in their field of
choice. He said that almost all the economic sectors have been opened
for direct foreign investment.
He said that the policies have been so liberalized
that all the foreigners have a free access to the stock markets and
there are no restrictions on repatriation of profits.
He said that there is no limit on equity held by
foreigners and no requirements for entering into joint ventures with
The meeting at Ceylon Chamber of Commerce was held
in very cordial and conducive atmosphere. During the meeting it was
agreed that both the sides would make more concerted and
sector-specific efforts to increase the two-way trade between Pakistan
and Sri Lanka.
It was also agreed that both the sides would adopt
a solid strategy to bridge communication gap between the two
The delegation also held one-to one meetings with
the counterparts in Sri Lanka.
During one to one meetings, the Sri Lankan
businessmen showed keen interest to import rice, leather products,
gyms equipment, food items, spices, etc., from Pakistan. They were
also interested to have joint ventures with Pakistani counterparts in
leisure/recreational industry, tea plantation in Pakistan and food and
food processing industry.
It is worth mentioning that the High Commission of
Pakistan in Colombo arranged the meetings of LCCI delegates in a very
professional manner and all types of cooperation and support was
extended to the delegation to make the visit a success. The leader of
the delegation Engr. Sohail Lashari thanked the High Commissioner of
Pakistan in Colombo for providing them all sort of support,
cooperation and arranging successful business meetings with Ceylon
Chamber and National Chamber of Commerce at Colombo. He also thanked
the High Commission of Pakistan for arranging an exclusive dinner in
the honour of LCCI delegates.