RELIABLE CIVIC INFRASTRUCTURE A PRE-REQUISITE FOR INVESTMENT: UK ENVOY

'UK has always supported Pakistan in enhancing access to its products into European markets'

AMANULLAH BASHAR
Aug 28 - Sep 03, 2006

Hamish St. Clair Daniel, British Deputy High Commissioner, has said that recent rains have caused serious damage to the civic infrastructure, especially to roads and electricity distribution system in Karachi.

The British diplomat was sharing his experiences of the delicate infrastructure in the wake of the recent rains in Karachi at a meeting with the industrialists at SITE Association of Industry.

Hamish observed that the recent rains had left the city roads in an extremely bad shape. The deluge on roads led to a chaotic traffic jams making it impossible to move on the roads. Though life has started returning to normalcy, the recent experiences call for taking corrective measures for permanent solution to receive the rains in a better way especially when you have to attract or invite investment in this mega city.

Regarding two-way trade between Pakistan and the United Kingdom and investment from his country, the British diplomat said that apart from a British mission which is due soon, more delegations in telecommunication, financial and education sector would also be visiting soon.

In fact, Britain is keen to participate in the modernization process of Pakistan railways and desires that British railway companies work together with Pakistan Railways for modernizing the railway network in Pakistan.

Reassuring the traders and export-oriented industries of his support in exports, Hamish said his country has always supported Pakistan in enhancing access to Pakistani products into European markets.

Regarding the travel advice to the British nationals, he clarified that British High Commission never asked the intended visitors from UK not to travel to Pakistan; the advice was always meant to take care of the intending travelers.

He said that his country values the efforts of the Pakistan government for the protection of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) especially in respect of book and drug piracies. As a result of these efforts the violation of IPR seems visibly reduced in Pakistan which is a good sign to win confidence of the international investors in this country, he added.

CRICKET DILEMMA

Being a sports lover, Hamish observed that he desires and believes in justice and any decision regarding cricket controversy should be based on justice to amicably resolve the issue.

It is unfortunate that cricket series has taken a bad turn. In fact, he said, his country desires that one-day series should continue as per schedule.

"In fact, we are keen for a solution of the stalemate through a decision based on justice," said Hamish.

ENERGY

The Deputy High Commissioner, while discussing the growing need of energy on the back of economic growth in Pakistan, said that we are aware of the fact that energy requirement is growing at a faster rate in Pakistan.

The unusual and unaffordable hike in international oil prices has forced the economic managers to switch from oil to natural gas, however, excessive use of gas was leading to fast depletion of gas resources as well.

However, the increasing demand for energy should not be addressed through nuclear power generation. He was of the opinion that Pakistan can opt for alternative energy resources like solar, hydel, coal or wind power for electricity generation.

BILATERAL TRADE

Speaking on the two-way trade between UK and Pakistan, Hamish said that at present the balance of trade is largely in favor of Pakistan. Out of the current trade volume worth one billion dollars this country enjoys major share and hopefully this volume would further expand in the days to come.

Hamish Daniel assured the industrialists that Britain is willing to assist Pakistan in its security reform program and to provide assistance in security sector for which some British officials have already arrived here.

The British diplomat was of the opinion that the investment climate was conducive in Pakistan especially on the back of continuation of economic policies. It was due to better investment climate in this country that different trade delegations and missions are due to visit Pakistan from UK this year. The first delegation comprised members of Birmingham Chamber of Commerce will be arriving here sometime this week.

Speaking about his own experience in Pakistan, Hamish observed that he extensively toured Pakistan including remote areas like Gilgit, Chitral and the areas close to China border, besides Punjab's industrial cities like Faisalabad and Sialkot where he found an excellent environment for investment.

Earlier, Ameen Bandukda, Chairman SITE Association of Industry, welcomed the chief guest.

Hamish has however rightly pointed out that a better and sustainable infrastructure is the basic need for inviting investment either from domestic resources or abroad.

Now is the time that the city infrastructure, especially sewerage, drainage, drinking water, electricity, roads, etc. should be redesigned in a way that it could sustain the pressures of ever-growing population in the metropolis. It would never help to raise accusing fingers on each other or previous governments for the existing dilapidated infrastructure.