After a successful investment roadshow in Dubai, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government has attracted pledges worth over a billion dollars for the province.
International investors from across the globe have inked $1.2 billion letters of intent (LOI) in energy, housing, oil & gas, solar and tourism sectors. This was stated by Chief Minister Pervez Khattak and Board of Investment Vice Chairman Mohsin Aziz during a press conference at CM House on Friday. Plans are also afoot to generate electricity through surplus gas.
Khattak said, “In light of recent talks with the federal government, the K-P government has made plans to generate electricity from surplus gas,” Khattak said. If the province is given this opportunity, it could produce about 700 megawatts of cheap electricity which would be used to boost industry. According to the CM, he went with a 29-point agenda into the talks which were received positively.
However, he conceded entrepreneurs were reluctant to invest in the province due to geographical disadvantages. “Unless facilities and relief are granted to investors, the dreams of industrialising K-P cannot materialise.”
Khattak recalled granting incentives to industrialists in Gadoon when he was the industries minister. “It led to the establishment of scores of units,” he said. Khattak added now K-P authorities would give concessions on electricity to industrialists.
Satisfied with the recently held K-P Investment Road Show in Dubai, Khattak said the initiative would prove to be an important milestone. He said a number of entrepreneurs had pledged their investment in different sectors.
Khattak said industrialisation could help the PTI government combat economic problems, especially unemployment and poverty. Due to his engagement in the Senate polls, Khattak could not attend the Dubai road show which was inaugurated by PTI Chairman Imran Khan.
The provincial government’s team was led by Aziz. Other members of the team included Industries Minister Ziaullah Khan Afridi and Minister for Education Muhammad Atif Khan. “Foreign investors have signed 12 letters of intent to invest in the tourism sector whereas around $200 million was pledged for the energy sector,” said Aziz
“FMG, a leading mineral company from Australia, showed interest in investing in Chitral, while four letters of intent, amounting to some $800 million, were signed for investment in the housing sector,” added the investment board chief.
Aziz said the presentation made during the show in Dubai was prepared after eight months of hectic efforts. He said the presentation proved there were attractive investment opportunities in K-P.
“I am a man of crisis and I love crises,” Aziz quoted an investor from Ukraine as saying when the latter was told of the law and order situation.
In response to a question, Aziz pointed out crime in Congo was worse than K-P, but entrepreneurs from all over the world do business there.
Investor friendly K-P
The chief minister touched upon the subject of a proposed oil refinery. “An investor has visited the site and now land is being requisitioned according to his will and planning.” He added the K-P government was determined to provide necessary assistance to the investor as he is plans to pump in a massive $200 million. Khattak dispelled the impression that corrupt practices were rampant in K-P. “My government is different from the previous ones,” he said. “Neither the CM nor any of the ministers are demanding kickbacks.” He expressed his satisfaction over the Board of Investment and Trade’s performances. He thanked Aziz for holding a successful show in Dubai. Khattak claimed there would be widespread foreign investment and industrialisation if Imran Khan becomes prime minister of the country.
Khattak said the Centre has assured all liabilities and arrears owed to K-P would be cleared in the coming months. He claimed some of these dues would be cleared in the first week of March.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 28th, 2015.