ENGRO ASAHI PLANT INAUGURATED

 

Efforts to create investor-friendly atmosphere and to ensure stability and continuity of the policies

By SHABBIR H. KAZMI
Feb 14 - 20, 2000

Chief Executive General. Pervez Musharraf was the chief guest at the inauguration ceremony of PVC plant of Engro Asahi Polymer and Chemicals Limited. While addressing he identified four areas for developing a self-reliant national economy. These were: increase in revenue collection, reduction in non-development expenditure, providing opportunities and incentives for direct foreign investment, and encouraging local producers to increase exports. He called upon the foreign investors to invest in Pakistan in oil and gas exploration. Exploration and enhanced production hold great potential for the growth of downstream petrochemical industry and projects like Engro Asahi, he added.

The government will encourage the setting up of such projects since they promote technology transfer, industrial infrastructure development and job creation. General Musharraf said: "We will support private sector's efforts to work with the government to develop commerce and industry. In this regard, we will assist Engro Asahi in its efforts to support the development of engineering, chemical, housing and agricultural sectors."

The Ministry of Industries is preparing a long-term plan for development of chemicals industry by examining the value chain from raw material to finished products. The government is making efforts to create investor-friendly atmosphere and to ensure stability and continuity of the investment policy and efforts are being made that the succeeding governments stick to this investment policies.

He said that the government was conscious of the importance of foreign investment in the country and would take measures to give credibility to its policies and commitments to foreign investors. He said Engro Asahi was an example of excellent relations between Japan and Pakistan. "We hope that the commitment shown by Asahi Glass and Mitsubishi in investing in Pakistan will encourage other Japanese companies to invest also, and that Japan will continue to be our largest business partner."

Japan is an excellent example for Pakistan to follow. They became a major industrial power by sheer hard work, by effective policy making and implementation, and most importantly by bringing changes in their organizational structure and basic thought process. "

Minrou Kubota, Ambassador of Japan, said despite compulsions, Japan had been supporting Pakistan in strengthening its economy. He said: "Although we (Japan) have been facing a few difficulties lately due to the situation influenced by Pakistan's security compulsions, Japan's policy to support the economic and social development in Pakistan does not change at all. I trust Pakistan will emerge as a country with vibrant economy and strong industrial base. Japan, being a good friend of Pakistan is willing to help accelerate economic growth by extending all kinds of economic and technical assistance. I hope that under the strong leadership, Pakistan could provide good atmosphere for active trade and new investments between the two partners.

Zaffar A. Khan, President, Engro Chemical Pakistan Limited, said that industrial and investment policies of the government needed consistency. He suggested that the government should take necessary measures which can help in restoring the confidence of investors in the industrial and investment policies of the government.

Asad Umer, President, Engro Asahi Polymer & Chemicals said that the total cost of the plant was three billion rupees. Its installed capacity of the plant was 100,000 tonnes of PVC resins per year. It would meet the local requirements of 70,000 tonnes per annum and export the balance. He said that the plant would help not only in reducing the import bill of the country but would also help in earning millions of dollars.

Despite an annual growth rate of 10 per cent over the last decades there has been no local production of PVC. The use is expected to increase with the availability of locally produced material. PVC is used in almost all the products used commonly in a house-hold.

Others who spoke on the occasion included Shinya Ishizu, President of Asahi Glass Company, and Yasuo Sone, CEO, Chemical Group, Mitsubishi Corporation. They expressed the hope that their partnership with Engro would encourage other investors to explore business potential in Pakistan.