Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif's speech for the business forum

September 18, 2013

 H.E. Mr. Zafar Caglayan  Minister for Economy,

Mr. Rezanur  Meral , President of TUSKON,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentleman,

Assalam-o-Alaikum

 It is, indeed, a great pleasure to address this august audience today in the beautiful city of Istanbul, a confluence of peoples, cultures and ideas.

I wish to convey my sincere appreciation to Mr. Rezanur Meral, President of TUSKON and his team for organizing and hosting this important event. I see assembled before me architects of a bold, confident and prosperous Turkish nation.

 Ladies and Gentleman,

 Turkey and Pakistan enjoy deep-rooted relations, underpinned by eternal bonds of amity and brotherhood. The centuries old love and affection that exist between the peoples of Pakistan and Turkey is unmatched. We have a spiritual communion exemplified by the poetry of Allama Muhammad Iqbal and Maulana Jallaluddin Rumi.

Ladies and Gentlemen  

This year has been a watershed for democracy in Pakistan. For the first time, a peaceful transition from one elected government to another has taken place.

                In the historic general elections held in Pakistan in May this year, the people of Pakistan gave a clear mandate to my party.  I am humbled by the trust and confidence reposed in me by the people of Pakistan. It has reinforced my resolve to serve the nation, with dignity and devotion.

                Pakistan has had its share of challenges. However, the situation is looking up. I have no doubt that our today is better than yesterday and tomorrow would be even brighter. The agenda before my government is therefore broad and urgent, focusing on the welfare of the people of Pakistan.

Our foremost priorities include good and accountable governance; creation of a peaceful and secure environment; economic revival; energy security; poverty alleviation and creation of new jobs.

The aim of my government is to increase GDP gradually to 7 percent, enhance foreign exchange reserves to over US$ 20 billion, reduce public debt by 57 percent of the GDP and to increase investment to GDP ratio to rise to 20 per cent.

 Let me draw your attention to the recent ratings released by the Standard & Poor and Moody, in which they have reposed confidence in Pakistan’s economy, by rating Pakistan from a negative of 34 to a positive of 2.

 Ladies and Gentlemen,

 Pakistan lies at the crossroads of South, Central and West Asia.  Being a market of more than 180 million people, our human resource capital comprising a youthful, educated and skilled workforce is second to none in the world.  Pakistan is also endowed with rich and untapped natural resources. Our coal reserves in Sindh are one of the largest in the world.

All these advantages coupled with a friendly investment policy offers ideal opportunities for investment in Pakistan. 

Our primary purpose is to create a conducive environment for trade and investment. We have a liberal investment policy, which includes, 100% equity ownership, full repatriation of capital, tax breaks, customs duty concessions on import of plant and machinery and raw materials. Special Economic Zones have been established with efficient infrastructure and one window facility and more such zones are in the offing.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Socio-economic development is the priority of my government and the energy sector tops this socio-economic agenda. We have formulated an energy policy with the consensus of the provincial governments. We are taking steps to diversify the energy sector including increase in power generation, use of technology in power distribution, controlling line losses and energy conservation.

After assuming office, we have undertaken a series of important steps to address the energy shortage. These include:

·         Clearance of nearly US dollars five billion, generally referred to as circular debt. This has resulted in the addition of 1700 MW to the system.

·         Re-activation of Nandi Power Project which will add 425 MW to national grid.

·         Financial close on two civil Nuclear Power Generation projects with the total capacity of 2117 MW.

·         Accelerated work on Neelum-Jhelum Hydro Project with 969 MW generation capacity

·         Initiation of work on mega projects like Dasu Dam and Diamer-Bhasha Dam.

The energy sector of Pakistan with its vast potential in thermal, coal, wind and solar areas is ripe for investment. From large projects of over 5,000 MW to small and medium sized projects, the opportunities are wide-ranging.

I recently inaugurated the Gadani Power Park, comprising ten coal-fired power plants with an accumulated capacity of 6600 MWs. Similarly, development of the Thar Coal Field is being fast-tracked.

The wind power plant established by the Zorlu Energy Company of Turkey in Sind represents a landmark. I am confident that this project would encourage more Turkish companies to invest in the vast energy sector of Pakistan.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

                Provision of low-cost housing is another priority area of my government. With our growing population, the demand for housing is increasing. Over the next five years, the government plans to build 500,000 new housing units across the country.

The Turkish model of social housing developed by TOKI complements our vision to provide this basic necessity to the disadvantageous section of our society. My government will soon announce various housing projects and I invite Turkish investors to participate in these projects.

The construction and infrastructure sector is another key element of our developmental agenda. In the coming years, my government plans to construct country-wide new highways and motorways, build new airports, shopping malls and theme parks.

The Economic Corridor that will link the Chinese city of Kashgar to the port city of Karachi, is amongst one of the most important initiatives of the government. We plan on building a high quality modern expressway that will not only connect China and Pakistan as a modern equivalent of the ancient silk-route, but also open up countless economic opportunities for Pakistan from China to Central Asia.

We are also planning on a network of six-lane motorways linking the city of Lahore to Karachi through the city of Multan. Similar modern highways will link other important cities, opening up the deep interiors of the country to unprecedented economic growth and development.

Ladies and gentlemen,

                Another important priority area of my government is urban development including provision of modern municipal services, solid waste management and public transport. The success of Lahore Metro Bus and Solid Waste Management Projects completed in collaboration with Turkish companies has inspired other cities in Pakistan to follow the example.  

                Textile industry is the main source of export earnings in our country. The range of our textile products are broad, the quality is of international standard. The textile infrastructure is vast and modern. Leading international brands have established their production houses in Pakistan. Turkish textile companies with their superior technical capabilities and investment capacity could explore this sector for joint ventures. The abundance of raw material in the shape of bumper cotton yields coupled with cheap and skilled labour provide an additional incentive for any investor.

 

 

Ladies and gentlemen,

                I will also invite your attention to Agro Industry with a huge investment potential and export opportunities. Pakistan has a strong agricultural base and it is world leading producer of cotton, wheat, rice, sugar cane, lentils, fruits and vegetables.

                Pakistan has a top global ranking in production of milk. Capitalizing on this potential, Nestle has established their largest milk reception facility in Pakistan along with many milk production plants across the country. Turkish agro companies with their expertise in the food processing technology would find this sector very attractive for value addition and conversion of this ‘white gold’ into cheese, butter and dry milk powder.

Another important area where Pakistani and Turkish companies can work together is the Oil & Gas sector. I look forward to close collaboration not only in exploration & production but as well as building refineries and pipe lines.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The private sector is the engine for growth. We want to go beyond the traditional state-to-state relations and develop close and intensive business-to-business relations. The Pakistan-Turkey Joint Business Council and PAK-TURK Business Association are already a manifestation of this objective. Agreements signed between our various chambers yesterday in Ankara would further strengthen contacts between our two private sectors.

A strong delegation of leading Pakistani businessmen and CEOs representing key sectors of Pakistan are present in the hall today. I am sure that their interaction with their Turkish counterparts would lead to concrete and solid cooperation.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is our earnest desire to have greater and more extensive trade and investment relations with Turkey. In my meetings with both President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Erdogan, we have agreed on a long term strategic partnership with the prime focus on economic and trade relations. Your role is central and vital in realizing our shared vision and goals.

To realize our shared objective of developing close contacts between the businessmen of the two countries, we need a strong framework of cooperation. In this context, I propose to establish a Pakistan-Turkey Chamber of Commerce in both countries. I am confident that our respective National Federations for Commerce and Industry would work together to establish this body very soon.

Ladies and Gentleman

Our vision is a new Pakistan – a Pakistan which is at peace within and peace outside, especially with its neighbors; a Pakistan which is business friendly; a Pakistan where foreign investors would feel safe and secure; a Pakistan which is modern, progressive and forward looking.

In conclusion, I invite you on behalf of my government and the people of Pakistan, to explore the vast opportunities in Pakistan. My government will provide full facilitation to the Turkish companies which desire to do business in Pakistan. A Special Cell has been established in my office to oversee and facilitate Turkish projects in Pakistan.

We desire a broad-based relationship which is not only mutually beneficial for both countries but also create a partnership that elevates our existing excellent ties to new heights.

I look forward to welcoming you in Pakistan.

I thank you               Long live Pakistan Turkey Friendship