30pc of $1b Japanese pledge to be spent on automobile, chemical units

KARACHI - About 30 percent of the one billion dollars of Japanese pledge to Pakistan will be utilised for setting up Automobile and chemical industries at about 2,000 acres Economic Zone in Karachi, announced Saleem H Mandviwalla on Saturday. The Minister of State and Board of Investment chairman, in a press briefing here told the media men that during their recent visit to Japan, they had discussions with some 80 to 100 Japanese companies and convinced them to invest their re-located business at Economic Zone, especially developed for this purpose, in Pakistan. He said the economic zone would be completed with all necessities and industries by the end of 2011. Honda, Mitsubishi, Toyota and many other companies agreed to establish their re-located companies at Economic Zone at Gaghar Phatak where they will have independence and their own security system, he added. Mitsubishis Head is to visit Pakistan next Monday in this regard as we have offered him to head the Economic Zone, he added. Tokyo Chamber had dialogues with Pakistan Forum and discussed viable investment opportunities in Pakistan. He said that interest rate is non-issue for foreign investment but the bad law and order situation is a main hurdle, however, the interest rate has been cut up to 14% which would further decrease in the future. To a question about proper exploitation of Thar Coal Reservoirs, he said that the problem with that coal is that it has much quantity of sulphur, therefore, we need further investment to refine it for its practical use which would take sometime. He further said that the Zone is nothing to do with exports but the products of the companies might be selling locally, while the future investment is associated with global scenario. 'Pakistan is in better situation with 3.5 billion dollar FDI, and many progressive projects such as Bhasha Dam, Neelum Jehlum project, Tarbella and Manglas Rising are in pipeline, Saleem said. To a question, he said that British Petroleum is expanding its business, moreover Cuba wants to invest in textile sector.

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