Kuala Lumpur Chamber of Commerce and Industry is
planning to hold a single country exhibition in the month of December
in collaboration with the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).
A 40-member delegation of top class Malaysian
businessmen would be visiting Pakistan to participate in this
exhibition as well as interact with their Pakistani counterparts.
Mohammad Hafiz Hashim, head of five-member
Malaysian delegation, stated this while talking to LCCI Vice President
Sheikh Mohammad Arshad recently. The LCCI Convener also attended the
meeting on Standing Committee on WTO Akbar Sheikh and Secretary LCCI
Wing Commander Mohammad Younas. Hafiz Hashim said that the proposed
delegation, during its stay in Pakistan, would also explore the
business opportunities to initiate joint venture.
He said that Malaysians want to share their
expertise in the field of construction with their Pakistani
counterparts. He said that in Pakistan the industry is manual work
oriented instead of mechanized one and if the two countries join hands
in this particular sector the situation could be more beneficial for
both the sides. He said that we want to team up with Pakistan for the
better future of the two countries.
Speaking on the occasion, LCCI Vice President
Sheikh Mohammad Arshad said that Pakistan's construction industry
badly needs hand holding from its Malaysian counterparts as this
industry is growing with every passing day and it is high time for the
Malaysian investors to come forward and invest in Pakistan.
He said that though Malaysia is suffering because
of shortage of skilled manpower but the situation in Pakistan is also
no different and there is a dire need that Pakistan and Malaysia
should ink a MoU for the training of manpower.
Sheikh Mohammad Arshad said that there are immense
opportunities for foreign investment in construction, property
development, tourism, entertainment complexes, architecture and
hoteling. Tourism, housing and construction sectors have been given
the status of industry with a facility to import plant, machinery and
equipment, not manufactured locally, at custom duty of 5% and
zero-rated sales tax.
Foreign Direct Investment has been facilitated
through a number of measures, which include free movement of foreign
exchange, free access to capital markets, no restrictions on
repatriation of principal, dividends and profit, no limit on equity
held by foreigners, no requirement for entering into a joint venture
with a Pakistani company, no permission required for setting up any
He said that the construction and real estate
sector is one of the most dynamic and fast track growth sectors of the
Pakistan's economy. It not only caters to the needs of our growing
population for houses but also acts as an engine for the growth of a
large number of support industries and businesses. During the last
couple of years, the construction and real estate sector has attracted
extensive financial, infrastructural and human resources investment in
the country. The boost to the construction industry can be imagined
from the fact that construction industry's contribution to the Gross
National Product of Pakistan has increased from 1.6% in 2001-02 to
6.2% in 2004-05.
Sheikh Mohammad Arshad said that according to a
conservative estimate, there was a backlog of 4.3 million housing
units in Pakistan during 1998, which is now projected at 6.0 million.
The annual additional requirement is estimated around 0.57 million
housing units whereas the annual production is estimated around 0.3
million housing units, resulting in a recurring shortfall of 0.27
million units annually. It is estimated that in order to meet the
housing shortfall in the next 20 years, the overall housing production
will have to be increased to 0.82 million housing units.
He said that a deeper look into the real estate
sector reveals that 39% households have one-room homes, 31% two room
houses, 24% 3 to 4 rooms and 6% houses consist of 5 rooms or more.
There is a need to address the middle income group in the housing
sector development plan. These facts and figures reflect the potential
for investment under the existing investment friendly environment.
Cement manufacturing is another area in
construction, which is highly profitable these days and can be
exploited by the Malaysian investors.
THAI CONSULATE STOPS VISA FROM LAHORE
Business community has expressed grave concern over
stoppage of issuance of visas by Royal Thai Consulate in Lahore.
Reacting over the issue, the LCCI office-bearers
and the Executive Committee said that such a decision would cast
negative impact and is likely to hamper the vigorously expanding
economic cooperation between the two countries. They urged the Thai
Ambassador to revive the issuance of visa from Royal Thai Consulate in
Lahore in the larger interest of business community.
Mian Misbah said that the relations between the
business communities of the two countries are fraternal and cordial
and there is a caring touch in the nimble development of economic and
He said the year 2005 was a year of rapid progress.
Mutual exchange of business delegations had triggered an era of
substantial bilateral trade. Through interaction between Thai and
Pakistani entrepreneurs, signing of joint ventures is a welcome
enhancement in expanding co-operation.
In particular, the economic pace setters in Punjab
are extremely grateful to Thai Consulate Lahore and Thai Business
Centre for facilitating the progressive momentum.
The LCCI President said that the stoppage of
issuance of visas by Royal Thai Consulate in Lahore is a negative
development, which needs immediate attention of Thai Ambassador. Mian
Misbah said that the LCCI would continue to support and back all
actions that will bring about dynamic changes and economic progress
between Thailand and Pakistan.