Abdul Razak for enhancing economic integration with CARs, Afghanistan

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ISLAMABAD (APP) – Advisor to the Prime Minister on Commerce and Investment, Abdul Razak Dawood underlined for enhancing economic and trade integration with Central Asian Republics (CARs) and neighboring Afghanistan to boosting the regional connectivity.

The advisor said this in called on meeting to Chief Executive Officer of U.S International Development Finance Corporation (IDFC), Adam Boehler at Ministry of Commerce, said a press release issued by Ministry of Commerce here.

The meeting was attended by Chairman Board of Investment (BOI), Atif Riaz Bokhari, Federal Secretary Commerce Yousaf Naseem Khokhar and representatives from BOI, Commerce and Planning Division.

While giving an overview of Pakistan’s economic relationships with the regional countries, Abdul Razak Dawood said that Pakistan is already working closely with Afghanistan particularly on the development of transit trade as well as building of long term economic relationships.

Razak Dawood added that Pakistan is looking for a stronger connectivity with Central Asian Republics, which would include building of not only roads but also the power infrastructure.

The Advisor emphasized that Pakistan is a high-cost energy country and, with the stronger connectivity with Central Asian Republics, the country can lower these costs for the benefit of investors and businesses.

He further said that IDFC can play an instrumental role as interlink among these regional countries for the achievement of mutual objectives.

The Advisor, while discussing different opportunities in Pakistan, apprised the CEO IDFC of Public Private Partnership mode, introduced by the Government, to relieve some burden of the annual PSDP expenditure.

Razak Dawood explained that there is a need of foreign direct investment in Pakistan because it brings along technology, improvement in productivity and employment opportunities for the locals.

He assured that Pakistan is looking for diversification in FDI as investors from all over the world, irrespective of their country of origin, are provided the level playing field and equal support from the Government.

The Advisor also shared the problems being faced by the businessmen in Pakistan, amid a global pandemic, including liquidity issues and cancelation of export orders.

Speaking on specific areas where IDFC can support Pakistan, Chairman BOI Atif Riaz Bokhari, talked about Mortgage Lending sector, where a joint venture with Pakistani businesses can be established to provide affordable housing solutions to the public.

Bokhari also talked about development of a Science and Technology Industrial Park in Pakistan as well as investing in small and medium scale Hydro-Power projects.

Talking about the mode of investment, Chairman BOI stressed the importance of equity investment rather than direct loans, which is a more sustainable approach towards development.

The CEO IDFC informed the Advisor that they intend to start a regional fund for development in CARs, who have shown keen interest for involving Pakistan in the fund.

He added that IDFC has a $3 billion fund for immediate liquidity requirements of financial institutions, in the aftermath of Covid 19 pandemic.

He also discussed a number of opportunities discussed by the Pakistani side and decided to pursue different options as discussed in the meeting.

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