Singaporeans keen to invest in Pakistan

LAHORE - A high powered business delegation from Singapore Friday had meetings with their Pakistani counterparts to explore new trade and investment opportunities in Pakistan. The delegation was representing a wide range of sectors such as construction, oil & gas, agriculture & livestock, chemicals, professional services, plastic & rubber industry, logistics, packaging, power, marble and halal food.

Head of the delegation Shamsher Zaman, who is also Singapore’s Ambassador to Jordan, and LCCI President Almas Hyder termed it a historic “economic event” as this is the first-ever huge business delegation of Singapore visiting Pakistan with an objective to identify areas where Singapore companies can invest.

Shamsher Zaman said that Singapore is a small country as compared to Pakistan, yet it is one of the strong economies of the world. Interaction between business communities of the two countries can greatly help Pakistan learn from the experience of Singapore.

He said that businessmen of Singapore are quite keen to invest in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project. A lot of Singapore companies are interested in CPEC and Singapore companies have a lot of expertise in infrastructure, industrial parks.

Head of the delegation said that SMEs are an important part of Singapore’s economy and the same situation prevailing in Pakistan. He said Singapore started engaging countries in Africa, the Middle East and with zero business to start with, today their businesses were in billions.

He added that Pakistani businessmen should have sustainable liaison with the businessmen in Singapore as they are not much aware of the trade and investment opportunities in Pakistan. Pakistan is a big market with over 200 million people that’s why businessmen of Singapore have keen interest. He also called for exchange of trade delegations on reciprocal basis.

Almas Hyder said that Singapore can be rated as the best model country for the whole Asia. It takes a lot to become a highly developed and successful free-market economy. Maintaining corruption-free environment, keeping prices stable, and sustaining per capita GDP higher than most of developed countries speak itself about the governing system and economic planning in Singapore.

He said that the balance of trade has traditionally been in favour of Singapore. Among top importing and exporting destinations for Pakistan, Singapore comes at 16th and 42nd places respectively.

 He said that although, the figures of bilateral trade are almost 1 billion dollar but both countries have great potential to double and triple these trade figures in 5 to 10 years.

 He said that the trade profile sets an encouraging note for expansion of trade and investment ties between the two economies. The identification of the markets for specific products is a pre-requisite for expansion of trade. The major items of exports to Singapore are articles of apparel, petroleum oils and surgical instruments. On the other hand, petroleum gas, vessels for breaking, medical instruments, chemicals and data processing machines are imported from Singapore.

He said that Pakistani government is committed to ensure that the best facilitating environment is provided to the foreign investors in almost all the spheres of economic activity. Special Economic Zones are being established under CPEC and friends of Pakistan are initiating a number of mega projects.

“It is important that the current level of cooperation between Pakistani and Singaporean business community are formalized. Singapore business community can take advantage of Pakistan’s geographic location as a center point to South Asian, Central Asian, Gulf and Middle Eastern market. The future is bright for us and we should make the most of it”, the LCCI President concluded.

LCCI Senior Vice President Khawaja Shahzad Nasir and Vice President Faheem-ur-Rehman Saigal also spoke on the occasion.

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