The Punjab Board of Investment and Trade (PBIT) reached another milestone on Friday, when the agency signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Grace Refinery Limited, a major interest of a venture capitalist consortium. Grace Refinery plans to invest $5 billion in Punjab as part of an ambitious venture which will have a positive impact on both the economy and local population, officials said.
The signing of the MoU once again underscores the growing importance of PBIT under the leadership of its Chief Executive Officer, Amena Cheema, who has completely revamped the agency since taking office last year.
The six-person delegation of the Grace Refinery was led by their Chairman S. M. Ghaus and also included Chief Executive Officer Uzma Bashir and Project Director Brig (r) Shehzad Akhtar. PBIT Chief Executive Officer Amena Cheema welcomed the delegation and briefed them on the way forward with regard to their investment plan. Speaking on the occasion, the PBIT CEO said that all the credit for this latest achievement and the overall economic turnaround in Punjab goes to Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif for his visionary leadership.
Over the past few months, the PBIT CEO remained in close contact with Grace Refinery, holding several meetings and video-conferences with the management of the Refinery and their consultants in UK to convince them to invest in Punjab. The Grace Refinery communicated their intention to invest in Punjab earlier this week. After the decision, a meeting was held at the PBIT office in Lahore and an MoU was signed between the PBIT and Grace Refinery. Under the MoU, the PBIT will act as a one-window facilitator for Grace Refinery to provide all the necessary support and facilitation to them in setting up their operations in Punjab and Pakistan.
The Grace Refinery will also be exploring the petrochemical market in Pakistan through their refinery which will be established in Southern Punjab. The Refinery then intends to enter other market segments which include petrochemicals, oil marketing and power generation. The investments made by the Refinery will generate 50,000-70,000 new jobs and include a plan to build a new state-of-the-art hospital for the community. CEO Uzma Bashir spoke about opportunities and prospects offered by Punjab and praised the efforts of the PBIT CEO in making this happen. She underscored the efforts of Grace Refinery management in channeling these funds to Pakistan. She also briefed that the refinery with 220,000 bspd capacity, being designed on Euro 6 standards. She said the company has vision of placing Pakistan on the map of future technologies. She also disclosed that the Grace Refinery management has requested their crude oil supplier to join hands in building an oil pipeline from the source into Pakistan for its feedstock. She expressed her confidence and faith in management, quick response and governance of the province of Punjab.