LAHORE: Board of Investment (BoI) Chairman Miftah Ismail said on Monday that the ban on new industrial gas connections might be lifted as the Board had forwarded a summary to prime minister in this regard.
Talking to business community during his visit to the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), he said that some private sector players were also playing role to help the government overcome gas shortage as they were negotiating deals to import LNG.
He said that soon after taking over in 2013, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif took gas and electricity shortage as the biggest challenges to the economy and today we are sure that there would be no load-shedding in 2018.
Investment state of affairs would become better with improvement of infrastructure, electricity, water and gas supply, he added.
He said that in 1970s, Pakistan was most open and fast growing economy but today we are lagging behind even Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, adding that local investment to GDP ratio is just 15 per cent as compared to India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh where its average ratio is around 30 per cent.
He said that there is dire need to enhance local investment to GDP ratio.
He agreed with the LCCI president that both local and foreign businessmen should be treated equally and productive investment should be promoted by encouraging the local investors.
On China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the BoI chairman said that China supported Pakistan in difficult times and made huge investment.
He said that reservations about CPEC were not right as Pakistani and Chinese businessmen would be given equal opportunities.
He said that special economic zones are being developed throughout the country where facilities would be available for the industrialists.
LCCI President Abdul Basit said that foreign investment could not be promoted without encouraging the local investors, adding that though CPEC has improved the scenario, yet lot of work is needed to be done.
He said that CPEC grabbed the attention of Germany, Russia, Iran and many other countries and work on various projects was underway.
He said that there must be a balance between Pakistani and Chinese businessmen and both must be provided equal opportunities to grow.
LCCI Senior Vice President Amjad Ali Jawa said that it is a matter of concern that investment by the USA has gone down from $1309.3 million in 2007-08 to $209 million in 2014-15.
During the period of July-Feb 2016-17, volume of US investment in Pakistan was just $50.3 million.
Likewise, investment of UK, UAE, Japan and various other countries was also declining, he added.
Other LCCI office-bearers and renowned businessmen including Awais Saeed Piracha, Shahid Nazir, Tariq Mahmood, Muhammad Shahzad, Khawaja Imtiaz Ahmed and Nabila Intisar were also present.