A slew of Japanese investors wanted to invest in Pakistan after the meeting of President Zardari with Japanese Prime Minister in February, but they first want to see solid progress on existing projects and schemes and also intent on the part of the government to improve investment climate.
Moreover, the issue of connectivity between industrial areas of Landhi and Port Qasim Authority (PQA) could be considered detrimental by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in the context of the overall performance of executing agencies. This was disclosed by Advisor to Board of Investment Masao Nagase in a meeting with Sindh Chief Secretary on May 30 to discuss investment climate in the country. Briefing the house, the Secretary Board of Investment explained that investment climate in Pakistan is not showing favorable trends for a number of reasons including economic recession and increase in the cost of doing business.
In this backdrop, he impressed upon the need to salvage the situation by improving security climate and by removing bottlenecks in infrastructure development.
Export Processing Zone Authority (EPZA) chairman presented his informed opinion and stated that despite the odds, EPZA had made good progress as its export registered an unprecedented cumulative growth of nearly 60 percent in last two years and 28 projects came on stream including revival of sick industries.
He further stated that at the close of FY 2008-09, the exports from EPZA were to the tune of $347 million, whereas in these two years, 2009-10 and July 2010 May 2011, the exports have grown to $490 million.
Similarly, whereas direct foreign investment in Pakistan has gone down by 29 per cent in July-April 2011, EPZA has been able to achieve a handsome growth of 138 per cent. He added that the situation would have been much more positive, had three major problems: law and order situation, road conditions of Mehran Highway and other connecting roads besides Karachi Water and Sewerage Board’s inability to meter and connect the newly laid pipeline to EPZA with Dhabeji-Main were addressed by the relevant departments.
On conclusion, the house took decisions pertinent to the security situation that include the affirmation of the decisions taken in the meeting held by Home Secretary on April 26; Jurisdictional issue of Sukkun and Quaidabad Police Stations would be resolved at the earliest so that one Police Station becomes responsible for Karachi Export Processing Zone (KEPZ).
In addition a suitable place would be provided for the establishment of a police check post to maintain patrolling in the area, while decisions taken by the Home Secretary with regard to encroachment, surveillance cameras, entry cards, stickers on motorcycles/cars for KEPZ would be strictly enforced.
It was decided that the Sindh Government would support connectivity between Landhi and PQA industrial areas provided assistance from JICA or multinationals corporations is forthcoming.
While related to the connection of new PE-pipeline with Dhabeji-Main it was told that as EPZA had paid in advance for the deposit work for the pipeline and it also had been laid down, its connection with Dhabeji-Main would be made in a fortnight and compliance reported.