MULTAN - US Consul General in Lahore, Nina Maria Fite suggested to Pakistan on Thursday to overcome its power crisis with the help of its domestic resources instead of relying upon Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline (IPGP) as this project was yet to take a long time to complete.
The Consul General claimed that her country extended cooperation to Pakistan in a number of areas to overcome the energy crisis. “Besides offering support for replacing outdated equipment, we’re working together on hydro electric projects while we’re also working with Wapda and distribution companies to improve their performance,” she cited examples.
“We’re here to help you out, to offer technical assistance to you. But ultimately Pakistan itself has to find the answers to all questions being faced by it. Neither USA nor Europeans can answer them,” she added. Responding to a demand regarding giving Pakistani products access to American markets, she suggested to the businessmen to explore two enormous markets-India and China-located just along their borders.
She told the members of Multan Chamber that the USA wanted to expand the gamut of bilateral trade and therefore she had come down to Multan. She assured the local businessmen that she would bring colleagues from foreign commercial service of US Embassy Islamabad in her next visit to Multan with a view to pairing local businesses with the American ones. “Once we get to know as to where to start from, we’ll start moving forward,” she added. She said that all possibilities for forging business ties between USA and Pakistan like exchange of business delegations and trade fairs would be discussed.
She told the MCCI members that the chambers played a very strong lobbying role in USA, asking them to form themselves as effective groups to influence national policies. She said that the USA would continue its efforts for the economic development of Pakistan as well as to make it more prosperous.
Referring to agriculture, she said that the USA would give assistance to the local farmers in terms of technology and technical support for boosting their production. She said that cotton was a major crop of South Punjab region and cotton producers would also be given technical support to improve their yield.
To a query from a business woman, she said that most of the programmes launched by USA were targeted on rural women running cottage industries or linked with handicrafts. She added that some other programmes were meant to develop linkage between female entrepreneurs and market. “You may submit your projects and pinpoint that what challenges the female entrepreneurs are faced with. We’ll see what grant we can offer and under which programme,” she added.
Replying a question on abandoning of visa lottery system, she said that many other programmes were also there and Pakistanis could try their luck in these programmes. She said that the USA was waiting for Pakistan to give final shape to its policy regarding USA and strategic relations. President of Multan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Anis A Sheikh also spoke on this occasion.