Pakistan a nice destination for investment
Editor's note: Cheng Xizhong, Visiting Professor at Southwest University of Political Science and Law, Senior Fellow of the Charhar Institute, former Defense Attache in South Asian countries. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of China Economic Net.
by Cheng Xizhong
Pakistani Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar Monday encouraged the Chinese investors to explore more investment opportunities in industrial, agricultural and information technology areas under the umbrella of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
The minister pointed out the three main areas to encourage Chinese enterprises to invest at the macro level, namely industry, agriculture and information technology. In fact, there are many other areas in which Chinese enterprises may increase their investment in Pakistan, such as green energy, tourism, artificial intelligence, logistics, food and aquatic products processing, financial services and so on.
With the joint efforts of both sides over the years, significant progress has been made in the CPEC construction. Gwadar Port has been operating at full capacity. The generation capacity of the power plants jointly constructed by China and Pakistan such as the Sahiwal and Port Qasim plants accounts for one third of Pakistan's national power supply. The Matiari to Lahore ±660 kV High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) Transmission Line Project has been completed and put into operation, which has alleviated the power shortage. The Lahore Orange Line Metro Train, Pakistan's first urban rail transit, is in full commercial operation. The construction of a number of special economic zones (SEZ) has opened a new chapter of industrial cooperation. Nowadays, CPEC has entered a high-quality development stage. Therefore, in terms of hardware facilities, Pakistan already has the conditions for large-scale foreign investment.
In terms of soft environment, the Pakistani government has formulated and promulgated a series of documents and preferential policies for foreign investment in recent years. Prime Minister Imran Khan has assured many times that Pakistan would become a place where foreign investors can make money. At the same time, Pakistan has severely cracked down on terrorism, and the security situation has improved substantially year by year. Pakistan has also taken strict security measures to ensure the safety of foreign enterprises and personnel.
Due to the effective lockdown strategy to contain COVID-19, the sound policies of the government on economic development, and the driving effect of the CPEC progressing, Pakistan's economy is recovering rapidly. According to the latest report from Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), exports from Pakistan in rupee term witnessed an increase of 25.2% from July to September this year. Among various commodity exports, exports of textile commodities witnessed an increase of 26.55%, and food group, 26.91%.
In view of the above, recently, major world powers and many countries in the Middle East and Southeast Asia have expressed their desire to expand investment in Pakistan.
Therefore, in my point of view, Pakistan is a nice destination for investment. In addition to large enterprises, small and medium-sized Chinese enterprises may also consider expanding investment in Pakistan.