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ISLAMABAD: Chief Executive Officer of US International Development Finance Corporation (IDFC), Adam Boehler, called on Advisor to the Prime Minister on Commerce and Investment, Abdul Razak Dawood, at Ministry of Commerce on Wednesday.

The meeting was attended by Chairman Board of Investment (BOI) Atif Riaz Bokhari, Secretary Commerce and representatives from BOI, Commerce and Planning Division.

Giving an overview of Pakistan's economic relationships with the regional countries, Abdul Razak Dawood said Pakistan is already working closely with Afghanistan particularly on the development of transit trade as well as building of long term economic relationships.

Dawood said Pakistan was looking for a stronger connectivity with Central Asian Republics, which would include building of not only roads but also the power infrastructure. The Advisor underlined that Pakistan was a high-cost energy country and, with the stronger connectivity with Central Asian Republics, the country can lower these costs for the benefit of investors and businesses. He further said IDFC could play an instrumental role as interlink among these regional countries for the achievement of mutual objectives.

The Advisor, while discussing different opportunities in Pakistan, apprised the CEO IDFC of Public Private Partnership mode, introduced by the government, in order to relieve some burden of the annual PSDP expenditure. Dawood explained that there was a need of foreign direct investment in Pakistan because it brings along technology, improvement in productivity and employment opportunities for the locals. He assured that Pakistan is looking for diversification in FDI as investors from all over the world, irrespective of their country of origin, are provided the level playing field and equal support from the government. The Advisor also shared the problems being faced by the businessmen in Pakistan, amid a global pandemic, including liquidity issues and cancellation of export orders.

Speaking on specific areas where IDFC can support Pakistan, Chairman BOI talked about Mortgage Lending sector, where a joint venture with Pakistani businesses can be established to provide affordable housing solutions to the public.

Bokhari also talked about development of a Science and Technology Industrial Park in Pakistan as well as investing in small and medium scale Hydro-Power projects.

Talking about the mode of investment, Chairman BOI stressed the importance of equity investment rather than direct loans, which is a more sustainable approach towards development.

CEO IDFC informed the Advisor that they intend to start a regional fund for development in CARs, who have shown keen interest for involving Pakistan in the fund. He added that IDFC has a $3 billion fund for immediate liquidity requirements of financial institutions, in the aftermath of Covid-19 pandemic. He also discussed a number of opportunities discussed by the Pakistani side and decided to pursue different options as discussed in the meeting.-PR

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020