Traders ask govt. to reject US pressure on IP project

LAHORE: Setting aside the US Consul General Michael Dodman’s threat of sanctions on Pakistan, the business community on Thursday asked the government, political parties and the military leadership to carry on work on the Pak-Iran Gas Pipeline Project.

“The government should pursue Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project as it is vital to overcome country’s energy crisis, said APAT general secretary Naeem Mir.

Appreciating the cabinet decision of handing over of Gwadar Port to China, he insisted the federal government to continue this amended foreign policy, as the foreign policy is fundamental to improve export of any country.

He asked the US authorities as to how many projects have been financed by it in Pakistan to overcome energy crisis while the Washington has inked several deals with India to fulfil its energy needs, including civil atomic agreements.

Mir said that Pakistan should also pursue other important projects with Iran such as gas pipeline, electricity transmission, upgradation of connectivity and also building a more robust trade partnership between the two countries. Pakistan should pursue its cooperation with Tehran which is an immediate neighbour, as national interest should always remain top priority.

“All our friends are encouraged to really understand Pakistan’s energy crisis,” he said, adding that the country was going through a serious energy crisis and it was in the national interest to seek energy from wherever it comes. “We cannot afford to be selective where we receive our energy supplies from,” he added.

He asked the government to solve the energy crisis if it wants to achieve the targets, besides bringing down the policy rate as per the regional countries of 7% to support industry. He pointed out that worsening law and order situation is also discouraging both the local and foreign investors to put their money in new ventures abroad.

He said that Pakistan is also all set to import 10,000 ton per day Liquefied Petroleum Gas LPG from Iran.

Appreciating the decision of oil refinery establishment, he said that it would refine oil of 400,000 barrel a day.

Mir suggested the government would have to evolve a mechanism to become more effective in facilitating investments in the country and for this purpose oversees Pakistanis should be given incentives to invest in agriculture, transportation, telecom and energy sectors, which have huge potential, besides auction of 3G and privatisation of public sector institutions.

He said that government failed to attract foreign investment, as the present process of approval of projects discourages investors. There is need to work on a one window system where the investor can be provided all necessary information and facilities.

APAT general secretary asked the bureaucracy to work on simplification of procedures by revisiting the existing processes without compromising on transparency so that the investors were comforted.