ISTANBUL: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani Wednesday invited Turkish businessmen to explore Pakistan’s business potential by investing in energy, oil and gas sectors and offered them visas on arrival.The Prime Minister who arrived here from Ankara on the second leg of his three-day official visit to Turkey, was addressing the Turkish businessmen at a luncheon hosted in his honour by DEIK – Turkish Foreign Economic Relations Board.Gilani said the government had taken a decision to allow Visa on Arrival for 30 days to all Turkish nationals who possessed valid US, UK or Schengen visas.“We hope that remaining formalities will soon be completed for the conclusion of Visa Abolition Agreement for bonafide businessmen of Turkey and Pakistan,” he said.
“For our Turkish brothers, we are ready to do more. We seek your investments, we desire joint ventures, and we want to work together in the spirit of win-win partnership,” he said.Reiterating his government’s desire for a greater, more extensive and robust trade and economic relations with Turkey, he assured the Turkish businessmen of providing them conducive and enabling environment to do business in Pakistan.Gilani said his visit to Istanbul had a particular focus to interact with the local businessmen and find out the ways to give a strategic direction to the commercial and economic relations between Pakistan and Turkey.He said despite Pak-Turk friendship, the strong ties somehow had not been translated into robust trade and economic relations, as the bilateral trade volume of around US$782 million did not reflect the potential and the opportunities that existed in the two countries.Gilani recalled that he and Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan during his visit to Pakistan last year had agreed to increase bilateral trade volume to US$2 billion by 2012.He expressed confidence that together through joint collaboration and efforts, “InshAllah we would not only achieve this target but will go well beyond it.”
On Pakistan’s economic situation, he said various investment opportunities and the steps had been taken by his government to promote trade and foreign investments.
He said despite some external and internal shocks in shape of global financial crisis, volatility in oil prices and energy shortfall, Pakistan’s economy had shown resilience and a modest growth this year.Gilani said economic liberalization, deregulation and privatization in a transparent manner remain the core principles of our economic reform agenda.The Prime Minister said Pakistan offered many attractive opportunities for investments in energy, textile, infrastructure development, agro-based industry, oil and gas, mining and many other areas.He said many attractive incentives were available including 100% equity ownership, full repatriation of capital, tax breaks, and customs duty concessions on import of plant and machinery and raw materials. He said Special Economic Zones had been created with efficient infrastructure where one-window facility was being offered by the Board of Investment.He said in the energy sector, the Turkish companies have already invested in Pakistan, especially in the alternate energy sector. He said last year, he had inaugurated the Wind Energy Project established by Zorlu in the province of Sindh. The power ship “Karadeniz Kaya Bey” which recently arrived Karachi would help, a little in meeting our growing electricity demand, he said.
He said the Textile sector of Pakistan carried vast investment opportunities. It has been revamped and reenergized through a Textile Investment Support Fund of Rs. 40 billion under the new Textile Policy.He invited Turkish businesses to consider setting up new units, entering in joint ventures and relocating Turkish textile manufacturing units to Pakistan.The Prime Minister said the Agro Industry is another area where Turkish investors can benefit from production of raw materials, the large domestic market of Pakistan as well as to benefit from exports to the oil rich Gulf countries.He said in this sector some of the potential areas of investment include commercial dairy farming, crop specific machinery, seed production, fruits and vegetable processing, cold storages, pesticide manufacturing plants, drip irrigation system and meat processing.He mentioned that fisheries sector in Pakistan was bestowed with a variety of fish.“The Karachi Fish harbor is being revamped and its operations modernized with recognized potential of US$ 1 billion. In this sector we are looking for joint ventures in modern Shrimp peeling units and mother vessels for processing in the sea,” he said.He said with Pakistan’s growing population, the demand for housing was increasing and the plans to modernize our cities and set up self-contained residential complexes, also offer opportunities for foreign investments.He said Pakistan has one of the largest deposits of copper, gold and coal, and invited foreign companies to invest in the mining sector.He said another important area where Pakistani and Turkish companies can work together is the oil and gas sector. He asked the Turkish commercial banks and financial institutions to open branches in Pakistan and tap its vast business potential.Chairman Turkish-Pakistan Business Council Hussain Akbar and Rona Yirachi, Chairman Executive Board of Foreign Economic Relations Board also spoke on the occasion.The event was attended by Pakistan’s visiting delegation and the prominent Turkish businessmen – App