Pakistan awaits Polish enterprises - 13-05-2014
Minister Safdar Sohail of the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in Belgium. Fot. PTWP

It has been noticed in Pakistan that Poland may become its significant economic partner. ‘Now it is Polish government’s turn to support our enterprises that wish to do business in the promising Pakistani market,’ indicated the participants in the session entitled Investment capabilities and the legal framework of Pakistan which took place as part of the Pakistan – Central Europe Economic Cooperation Forum held during the 6th edition of the European Economic Congress.

Pakistan has not been a significant trade partner for Poland so far. However, there is certainly some potential for changing this situation. There are possibilities of developing mutual trade and economic cooperation, for example within the scope of coal mining, oil and gas exploration and extraction, the energy industry or the agri-food processing industry.

The new government of Pakistan, which was formed in 2013, promotes market economy and remains open to foreign investors. Owing to reforms, the economy of Pakistan was developing at a rate of 5 per cent in the first quarter of 2014.

‘When speaking of the possibilities of making investments in Pakistan, one has to take into account the energy sector in particular,’ emphasised Minister Safdar Sohail of the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in Belgium. ‘The government has ambitious plans for energy generation and distribution, hence the incentives for investors. We do not focus on the current generation alone. Instead, we look to the future. Our energy infrastructure is obsolete, hence the need for investments in this field. The energy mix of Pakistan consists of many elements, including hydropower projects. When it comes to Polish enterprises, there are opportunities for representatives of such branches of the economy as the coal industry, for instance. We assume the implementation of ten projects, 660 megawatts each. Therefore, we will need an enormous infrastructure, including the scope of coal processing. Pakistan offers safe and attractive investment conditions. There are countries that impose restrictions, but our country has long remained faithful to the lack of restrictions for investments. There are special economic zones in Pakistan, which attract investors,’ indicated Safdar Sohail.

He also indicated that the Thar Coal Field is a large-scale project in the coalmining industry of Pakistan. This project involves considerable resources of lignite.

‘Maybe Polish enterprises and institutions should take a closer look at this project,’ emphasised Safdar Sohail. ‘As far as oil and gas are concerned, there are many entities interested in this field. Shale gas is a fashionable topic these days. It is also being widely discussed in Pakistan, which has very large resources of shale gas. The government of Pakistan strives to implement substantial institutional grounds for the development of the oil and gas industry. As far as the exploration in search of deposits is concerned, this is yet another area where we have noticed great opportunities. Privatisation and deregulation are perceived as one of the greatest achievements of our government. Our government stands firm on the position that the privatisation process should be supported,’ assessed Safdar Sohail.

Sławomir Majman, Chairman of the Board of the Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency (PAIiIZ) indicated that Poland exports its goods and services mainly to the countries of the European Union; therefore, it is necessary to pursue a strategy that would allow us to diversify our output markets and break away from the European cocoon.

‘Many Polish enterprises are looking for opportunities beyond Europe,’ said Sławomir Majman. ‘There is China, as well as India and Africa. We would love that Polish enterprises began noticing Pakistan as well. The time has now come to ponder, in cooperation with the government of Pakistan, on how to mark our presence stronger in the Pakistani market. Some issues of importance in this regard include political stability and well-educated staff. This makes Pakistan another possible and important investment direction for Polish enterprises. Such branches as the mining industry, the energy industry or residential construction industry should attract us to the Pakistani market. We are on the threshold of that road. For the time being, we lack mutual knowledge about ourselves. It would all to the good if Polish enterprises were able to obtain more information on the transformations taking place in the economy of Pakistan. Pakistan is close at hand; it is considerably closer that many of us used to think before,’ indicated Sławomir Majman.

Safdar Sohail admitted that the right time has finally come for the Polish government to create a feasibility study on the investment needs and capabilities with regard to the Pakistani market. He also indicated that there is a certain problem within the scope of security in Pakistan, but it is often being overstated.

A postulate was also formulated during the session, that a branch of a Polish bank in Karachi should be opened in order to support Polish entrepreneurs. However, it is necessary to reopen the Polish diplomatic post in Pakistan, which would support Polish enterprises in the Pakistani market, which has not been well known in Poland until recently, but has a promising potential for the future.

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