Prime Minister of Pakistan’s Speech at the Pak-Turk Business Forum

December 23, 2013

Excellency Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey,
Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar, Governor Punjab,
Mr. Shahbaz Sharif, Chief Minister of Punjab,
H.E. Binali YILDIRIM, Turkish Minister of Railways,
H.E. Turkish Minister of Economy,
Mr. Ishaq Dar, Finance Minister
Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, My Turkish Brothers and Sisters,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

          It gives me great pleasure to welcome your Excellency, and distinguished members of your delegation to this beautiful city of Lahore. 
          Lahore, with its glorious history and a rich culture, has also a proud tradition of initiative and enterprise, ambition and talent. The city is a befitting host to this august gathering of our business leaders who exemplify all these virtues.
          I wish to commend the efforts of the Board of Investment and the Punjab Board of Investment and Trade and Pak-Turk Business Council for organizing this impressive event. I would also thank the shining array of entrepreneurs from both Pakistan and Turkey for being partners in this journey of friendship and brotherhood between the two countries.
I am confident that our interactions of today would further the objective of promoting closer economic ties between the two countries. 
Mr. Prime Minister,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
          I was honored to address a very well attended Business Forum in Istanbul on 18 September 2013. Ever-since, I have received a number of business delegations from Turkey, many of them are present here, who have all shown keen interest in investing in Pakistan. We can mutually work together for the economic growth of both countries and let us ensure that this momentum in Pakistan- Turkey ties continue forever.

Mr. Prime Minister,    
The representative business delegation accompanying you during this visit is a not only a firm endorsement of your commitment to Pakistan but also depicts your confidence in the investment friendly business environment in Pakistan. I wish to thank you for your well-placed trust in Pakistan and its people.
Pakistan is a strong and resilient nation of 180 million people. With a broad agricultural base, diverse manufacturing and booming services sectors, Pakistan is endowed with a wealth of human and material resources. Our geographical location at the cross-roads of West, South and Central Asia, places Pakistan at the hub of major energy and transportation corridors.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We understand the need of quality human resource for economic prosperity and growth. Pakistan today boasts world class universities which are producing thousands of high caliber professionals now employed not only be multi-national firms in Pakistan but are also in high demand. We also are focusing on vocational training through initiatives like Punjab Skill Development Company and TEVTA, making sure that our factories and other industries receive a steady supply of technicians and workers. This human resource development is ensuring that industries are never short of skilled labor as well as high caliber executives. I would also like to mention the excellent role being played by some 23 Pak-Turk schools in promoting cultural exchange and harmony between Pakistani and Turkish youth.

Mr. Prime Minister,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Economic prosperity for the people of Pakistan remains the principal priority of my government. Our policy framework is based on promoting sound macroeconomic policies to accelerate economic growth, alleviate poverty and create new jobs. Socio-economic development through a conducive and safe environment for trade and investment remains our focus.
A pro-business investment policy remains a central plank of our strategy. The investment policy of the government provides for 100% equity ownership, full repatriation of capital, tax breaks, customs duty concessions on the import of plant, machinery and raw materials. Special Economic Zones have been established with efficient infrastructure and one-window facility.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As you may be aware that severe energy deficiency in the country has stifled our economic growth. Cognizant of its importance, we have formulated an energy policy with the consensus of the provincial governments to address the issue. Our strategy is two-pronged: optimize the available resource base through use of technology in power distribution, controlling line losses and energy conservation; and diversify the energy mix by shifting to Hydel and Coal based technologies..
With 75 billion tons of coal reserve in  Pakistan, one of the largest in the world, it is but natural that coal-fired power projects are forming an increasingly important component of our energy matrix. The 6600 Megawatt Gadani Power Park is another important initiative in this respect. Likewise, increasing attention is being placed on the hydel, nuclear, wind and solar energy sectors.
From large projects of over 5000 MW to small and medium sized projects, the opportunities for investment are wide-ranging. I am happy to note that the wind energy sector already provides concrete and tangible evidence of cooperation between Pakistan and Turkey. I invite Turkish businessmen to explore the opportunities in energy sector ranging from wind, thermal and hydel power generation and Government of Pakistan shall ensure full protection and support to your investment.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
          The recently inaugurated Marmaray tunnel project in Istanbul has caught popular imagination as a feat of Turkish infrastructural excellence. Another major project, the Istanbul to Izmir motorway, including the world’s second longest suspension bridge, is on the drawing board. I wish to congratulate you, Mr. Prime Minister, and the associated Turkish firms for their professional competence in undertaking these projects.
These projects also epitomize a key element of our developmental strategy-to propel economic activity through construction of country-wide infrastructure projects including highways and motorways, airports, shopping malls and theme parks.
The planned Economic Corridor linking the Chinese city of Kashgar to the port of Gawader, is another aspect of this larger strategy. We plan on building a high quality expressway that will not only connect Pakistan and China as a modern equivalent of the ancient silk-route, but also open up countless economic opportunities for the region and beyond.
I feel that Turkish expertise can perfectly complement our ambition in undertaking such projects. My meeting with NUROL in October and their interest in Basha and Bunji dams, Lahore Karachi motorway and Gaddani Power Park was very encouraging. Similarly I am encouraged to see our Board of Investment working with Pak-Turk Business Council in textile, automotive and communication sectors. We are open to competitive proposals for building infrastructure projects from roads to bridges in a public private partnership modality and shall safe guard your investments in Pakistan. The success of Lahore Metro Bus and solid waste management projects in collaboration with Turkish companies provides a way forward.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
          Textile sector is the largest manufacturing industry in Pakistan and main source of export earnings for us. The recently awarded GSP Plus status to Pakistan by the European Union, is a testimony to the confidence of the international market in the quality of Pakistani products. 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 low-cost and skilled labour provides an additional incentive for any investor.
          As I earlier mentioned, Pakistan is a country of 180 Million people with a vibrant middle class. Our untapped assets provide immense potential for domestic and international tourism. I would invite your attention to a rapidly growing hotel and restaurant industry, resorts development and tour operations as one area where Turkish and Pakistani firms can come up with joint ventures. I would actually urge the members of the visiting entrepreneurs to spare a day after your meetings and explore the walled city of Lahore, forts, mosques, colonial architecture, museums and fashion and restaurant streets of Lahore to get a real flavour of Pakistan. I assure you full support and special incentives from Board of Investment if my Turkish brothers and sisters are interested to explore tourism sector.
Ladies and gentlemen,
          Pakistan ranks among top ten producers of the world for at least 25 agricultural commodities and the agro-based industry including food processing. Pakistan is also amongst the top Milk producers in the world with immense potential for a productivity improvement. Turkish agro companies with their expertise in food processing technology would find this sector very attractive for value addition and conversion of this “white gold” into cheese, butter and dry milk products. Similarly, the opportunities in the export of high quality citrus and mangoes is unmatched and Turkish firms may consider corporate farming to boost the productivity in this sector.
I am very happy to see the Turkish Airline growing its business and we want such collaborations to be successful and want to see more Turkish firms to follow suit. We have a similar culture and history and let us mutually benefit from these commonalities. I would urge Turkish and other European airlines to use our state of the art facilities at Karachi and Lahore International airports for stop-overs during their onward flights to Far East and Australia.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
          Opportunities multiply as they are seized. Those of you who are keen watchers of the Pakistani market would be well aware of the immense potential that it offers. The sound institutional framework in place and the unwavering commitment of the government to protect investments, should add to your comfort in investing in Pakistan. We have revamped Board of Investment to provide you with one window facility for all your queries, issues and implementation of your projects. Moreover, I offer my own office for my Turkish brothers and sisters, should they face any difficulty.
          I invite you Ladies and Gentlemen, to a Pakistan beyond the narrow confines of the stereotype, a Pakistan that beats a vibrant heart, a Pakistan ready to deliver on its promise, a Pakistan marching in tandem with the world on the road to progress and prosperity, a Pakistan that simply loves Turkey.
I thank you.