ISLAMABAD, Dec 04 (APP): Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar has said the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is Pakistan’s largest trading partner in the Middle East North Africa region with an average annual trade of $9 billion and urged the UAE investors to explore Pakistani market for new avenues.
In an interview with Gulf Today, he said Pakistan is planning a comprehensive investment promotion strategy in major countries including the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
PM Kakar said Pakistan’s exports to the UAE include agriculture products, textiles and manpower, while the UAE exports petroleum, petrochemical products and hi-tech equipment to Pakistan.
The two countries also exchange services with each other. Information Technology, Artificial Intelligence and Financial-technology are new areas of collaboration with much greater potential.
Pakistan-UAE bilateral trade during 2022-23 amounted to $9 billion, he said.
He expressed satisfaction that Pakistan’s exports to UAE surged to $1.4 billion in fiscal year 2022-23, highest in the last five years.
On prospects of UAE’s investment in Pakistan, he said attracting foreign investment in all sectors of Pakistan’s economy was the government’s top priority.
“Pakistan’s Investment Policy has been designed to provide a comprehensive framework for creating a conducive business environment for attraction of Foreign Direct Investment from all parts of the world including the UAE,” he said.
Currently, he said, there are over 1,000 multinational companies profitably operating in Pakistan, and for many, Pakistan is the most profitable part of their franchise.
Foreign companies, individuals, multinational corporations can own 100 per cent shares in locally incorporated or unincorporated firms, he added.
Stressing enhanced investment cooperation, the prime minister said the two countries could explore the areas such as agriculture, energy, mining, information technology, logistics and defence.
PM Kakar mentioned that in order to revive economy, the government recently established the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) to generate new and attractive investment opportunities from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries in priority sectors such as agriculture, mining, IT manufacturing and defence.
He mentioned the Pakistan Investment Road Show, organised by the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) in Dubai, which attracted a large number of global businessmen and investors.
He said utilising the platform, 30 Pakistani firms presented their project proposals and growth strategies encompassing various domains including Agriculture, IT and energy.
H said Pakistan and the UAE enjoy time-tested fraternal relations rooted deep in common faith, shared history and people to people contacts.
“We would do our best to further strengthen and diversify our brotherly ties by focusing on trade, investment and people-to-people contacts,” he said.
On Conference of Parties (COP28), he said Pakistan wholeheartedly appreciates the efforts of the UAE government in hosting the COP28 in Dubai.
Pakistan’s delegation at COP28, he said, would highlight the proactive actions the government was taking towards climate change.
The Pakistani contingent would also contribute towards deliberations, negotiations on establishing a Loss and Damage mechanism, agreeing on a New Collective Quantified Goal on Climate Finance (NCQG), shaping the Framework for Global Goal on Adaptation and towards the streams on mitigation, global stocktake and Enhanced Transparency Framework.
“Pakistan holds the belief that with collective action based on Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities (CBDR) we can make a common ground,” he said.
He stressed adopting a framework based on fast track energy transition and an agreement on climate finance goal.
The developing countries require around $2.4 trillion in annual investment by 2030 focusing on adaptation, resilience, mitigating loss and damage, he added.
About the 1.8 million overseas Pakistanis in the UAE, he said their valuable contribution through remittances significantly supports the Pakistani economy.
He said since 1971, more than 4.2 million intending emigrants were registered for overseas employment in the UAE and their contribution had been instrumental in maintaining economic stability of both countries.
PM Kakar said the UAE stands as the second-highest destination following Saudi Arabia from where Pakistan receives remittances. Over the past five years, Pakistan has received a substantial remittance amount of $28.4 billion from the UAE.
He said Pakistani workers’ remittances inflow of $ 8.8 billion has been recorded during the first four months of Financial Year 2023-24; out of this an amount of $1,497.6 million has been received as remittances from the UAE.
He mentioned that to facilitate overseas Pakistanis back home, the Government of Pakistan offered various incentives such as National Remittance Loyalty Programme (NRLP), Roshan Digital Account, Sohni Dharti Remittance etc. to increase the volume of remittances and to promote legal channels of sending remittances back.
Also, the provision of an active bank account has been made mandatory for registration of foreign employment agreement at Protector of Emigrant offices so that emigrants may remit their earnings to the given accounts.
In this regard, an account opening facility is being provided at each Protector Office.
The prime minister said recently, the e-Protector registration has also been launched to facilitate the intending emigrants on Direct Employment Visa.
He said Overseas Pakistanis Foundation was providing access to education and healthcare services for the families of overseas Pakistanis with the aim of improving the overall well-being of those who have migrated.