Pakistan: Land of opportunity for investors

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Faisal Tahir Khan

THE Pakistani nation is delighted with the recent high-level visit of Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman to Pakistan and the fact that he showed great confidence in Pakistani leadership and the nation by signing strategic memorandums of understanding that cover the investment of more than $20 billion in various sectors. This will initiate a new era of Saudi-Pak relations.

Pakistan with a population of 210 million people has a strategic geographical location, thriving middle class and the largest canal system in the world, with Gwadar being the world’s deepest seaport. Some 60 percent of the population is less than the age of 30 and a 2012 survey conducted by the Institute of European Business Administration indicated that the nation has the fourth most intelligent people out of 125 countries in the world.

Pakistan is expected to be among the 11 largest economies in the world in the 21st century, as per PWC, and based on projected global GDP by Purchasing Power Parity by 2030 Pakistan is being ranked among the top 20 powerful economies, with the seventh largest collection of engineers and scientists in the world. Pakistan is among the leading dairy producing countries and has one of the largest proven reserves of gold, coal, marble and granite. With millions of hectares of land available for corporate farming and with beautiful mountain terrains, Pakistan is a most attractive country for investment.

Pakistan offers investment friendly policies where investors can own up to 100 percent equity in most sectors with no restriction on repatriation of profits or dividends. Pakistan offers special incentives to those who invest in special economic zones.

Pakistan being an agri-based economy offers great opportunities for investors investing in corporate farming, value added food processing plants such as pulp, juice and ketchup factories and food supply chain networks including warehouses and cold storages. Livestock opportunities such as halal meat processing plants along with abattoirs are knocking on the door.

One of the largest industries that will emerge in Pakistan is travel and tourism, as recently the government of Pakistan has allowed 50 countries to have visas on arrival and 175 countries to have e-visas. This will give a tremendous boost to the tourism industry. This will require a state-of-the-art tourism infrastructure such as 4 and 5 star hotels, hill and beach resorts, transportation companies, new commercial airlines, tour operating companies, theme parks, souvenir shops, restaurants, fast food chains and many more. Recently Forbes named Pakistan as one of the “Coolest places to visit” in 2019.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), one of the important components of the One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative of China has opened a new era of growth and development in Pakistan that will spearhead phenomenal growth as more than $47 billion have been invested in Pakistan’s infrastructure, roads, railways, seaports, power plants, industrial zones, special economic zones, airports and so forth. CPEC will not only benefit China and Pakistan but will also lead to regional connectivity and will be beneficial for more than 40 countries in the region.

Gwadar port, which is the deepest seaport in the world, will become one of the biggest and busiest seaports in the world and a commercial hub in the region. Gwadar seaport will shorten distance and will save shipping time to China and the port will serve the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Central Asia and the region. CPEC will lead to peace, harmony and prosperity and will raise the living standards of people in the region and will develop deeper people-to-people contacts.

Pakistan offers great opportunity in setting up petrochemical plants as it imports almost $12 billion worth of petroleum products.

Opportunities lie in setting up power plants, constructing highways, building LNG terminals, water distillation plants, and in the mining of gold, coal, marble and granite as Pakistan has large reserves in this sector.

Pakistan is a great manufacturing hub for manufacturers looking to set up factories in the apparel sector, sports goods, surgical goods, the pharmaceutical industry and leather goods.

With a booming middle class and their purchasing power, major retail brands and retail chains can open their outlets in cosmopolitan cities across Pakistan.

In 2017, Pakistan had the fastest GDP growth rate in OIC member countries with one of the best performing stock markets in Asia.

Pakistan is rising and it is the right moment to take a position, as Pakistan offers both short-term and long-term opportunities, as it has strong macroeconomic indicators, demographics and great margin of growth.

In a nutshell, Pakistan is emerging and the world has realized it.

Faisal Tahir Khan

The author is an entrepreneur and consultant. He can be reached at think.fikr@gmail.com


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