Pakistan invites yet another middle eastern state to join CPEC
ISLAMABAD – Minster for Finance Asad Umar Thursday invited the Kuwaiti businessmen to explore investment opportunities in Pakistan’s oil and gas sector and projects under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
He said the Kuwaiti companies could help Pakistan in exploring Pakistan’s huge oil and gas reserves which were yet to be explored.
The minister was addressing a meeting of Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC) with Kuwait here at a local hotel. The Kuwaiti side was headed by its minister for commerce Khalid Nasir Abdullah.
Asad said CPEC was a huge project of over $50 billion out of which $27 billion worth of projects were under implementation.
“We are in close collaboration with China with regard to implementation of CPEC projects and we want to further expand the corridor,” he said adding “we want all out friendly countries should join CPEC for the socioeconomic development of people of the region”.
Speaking about bilateral trade, the minister said during last year, Pakistan’s exports to Kuwait stood at only $91 million which were far less than the true potential.
“The two countries should increase trade cooperation to expand the bilateral trade volume.”
He informed that by following the Japanese model, the Pakistan government had also kept commerce, investment, and industry under one window to make these sectors more effective and operational.
Further he also asked the Kuwaiti side to make visa regime for Pakistan businessmen and workers easier to enhance the bilateral relations. “Pakistani workers are contributing in development of Kuwait in diverse fields including information technology, and oil and gas sectors.”
Asad Umar also stressed the need for development of private sector of the two countries by enhancing cooperation between their chambers of commerce and industry.
The minister informed that in order to promote information technology sector, the government would set up new science and technology universities in collaboration with one of the world top Austrian university in this sector. He also invited the Kuwaiti side to take benefit from information technology sector in Pakistan.
Kuwaiti commerce minister in his address said the two countries were enjoying good brotherly relations since long and his country would continue to play role in development of Pakistan’s socio economic development. He said during fiscal year 2017, the bilateral trade volume was recorded at $322 million which was not according to the real potential.
He stressed the need to raise the trade volume by exploring the untapped sectors of the two countries. Later, talking to APP and PTV, the minister said it was a welcoming sign that after seven years, the JMC between the two countries was being held.
He informed that during the two day meetings, Pakistan side would focus on three main areas including improving bilateral trade, inviting Kuwaitis in Pakistan’s investment opportunities especially in oil and gas sector and CPEC, and easing of visa regime for Pakistani diaspora in Kuwait.
Pakistan, he said had stopped the oil and gas exploration in the country and was not issuing license to the companies for last five years, but now Kuwait being a big oil producer is invited to invest in this sector. “A new round would be held on October 12 between the two sides in which the Kuwaiti companies would be invited to invest in Pakistan’s oil and gas sector.”
To a question, the minister said Pakistan offers huge investment opportunities to the foreign businessmen particularly in the projects under CPEC. “We will tell the world that our security has improved and there are big investment opportunities in Pakistan,” he added.
The meeting was also attended by Minister of State for Revenue Hammad Azhar , Secretary Economic Affairs Division, Syed Ghazanfar Abbas Jillani, and other high officials from various ministries.