Print Print 2024-07-08

Azeri firm seeks legislative safeguards for its investment in Pakistan

  • Details shared during recent meeting convened to fine-tune investment proposals to be presented during the visit of Azerbaijan President this week
Published July 8, 2024
Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

ISLAMABAD: M/s SOCAR (State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic) is said to have sought legislative guarantee/ safeguards from Islamabad for protection to its investment in Pakistan, well-informed sources in the Petroleum Division told Business Recorder.

These details were shared during a recent meeting presided over by Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, Ahsan Iqbal, convened to fine-tune investment proposals to be presented during the visit of Azerbaijan President this week.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has assigned Minister of Planning, Development & Special Initiatives to hold consultative meetings with relevant Ministries, including Commerce, Industries, IT, Education, National Food Security, Board of Investment (BoI) and others to formally an investment portfolio of $2-3 billion for pitching to Azerbaijan.

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The Joint Chief Economist (EP) apprised the chair that an initial meeting with representatives of concerned Ministries/ Division was held on June 28, 2024 wherein they were requested to share the potential projects/ areas for seeking investment from Azerbaijan. Based on the information received, a draft brief/ report has been prepared.

Secretary Petroleum shared various potential areas/ projects like underground gas storage, white oil pipeline, LPG infrastructure, equity stakes in PRL, copper and gold mining, establishment of JV of PSO SOCAR, investment in Onshore/ Offshore Exploration Blocks. Exploration & production companies will be pitched for investment from Azerbaijan. SOCAR is already supplying LNG to Pakistan under an agreement signed by the GoP.

Planning Minister asked Petroleum Division and all other stakeholders to study the trail of Azerbaijan investment abroad and prepare tangible projects aligned with their investment priorities delineating profile, cost, value proposition and teasers on the Saudi template/ format.

DG (CARS & ECO), MOFA, shared that a detailed input has been shared with MoPD&SI. He highlighted that SOCAR is reluctant to invest for want of legislative guarantee/ safeguards for their investments.

Director M/o IT&T stated that a MoU on cooperation in field of information and Communication Technologies is almost ready for signing with Azerbaijan. The Chair observed that M/o IT&T should explore avenues for setting-up of IT Campuses in Azerbaijan.

Additional Secretary, Power Division proposed to invite Azerbaijan to join CASA-1000 under the open access regime. The CEO EDB, MOI&P apprised about the potential exportable products to Azerbaijan. JCE (EP) apprised the forum that MNFS&R has proposed projects related to feed fattening for livestock, corporate farming and exports of rice and wheat to Azerbaijan.

The representative of M/o Commerce shared that transit trade agreement and preferential trade agreement with Azerbaijan are under negotiations expected to complement bilateral trade. The Chair asked the M/o Commerce to carry out a thorough analysis of import structure of Azerbaijan and come up with concrete ideas for enhancing exports of pharmaceutical and smart mobile phones.

The representative of MoC briefed the chair that a study is already under-way and its findings will be shared with MoPD&SI within a week.

The chair also directed MoC and MNFS&R to analyze the reasons for non-exploitation of duty-free export of rice facility offered by Azerbaijan and take necessary measures to capture the market.

It was suggested to seek guidance from M/o Law & Justice on SOCAR demand for providing legislative guarantees/ safeguards for investment.

In line with vision of the Prime Minister, the Chair also emphasized evolving strategic partnerships to attract investment and expand exports along with strengthening B2B cooperation.

He asked the representative of MOFA to have a wrap-up meeting on the last day of the visiting delegation and share a consolidated brief/ report describing the outcome of interaction held with different stakeholders.

Deputy Foreign Minister for Azerbaijan recently visited Islamabad to finalise the pacts to be signed during the visit of President, in addition to proposals of cooperation in different fields.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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M Anwar Khan Jul 08, 2024 03:00pm
It is not legally possible to provide Legislative guarantee to single company. However Pakistan and Azerbaijan should sign a Bilateral Treaty for mutual Protection of Investments.
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Realist Jul 08, 2024 04:18pm
Judging from the desperation to attract any kind of foreign investors, before you know it, we may also have an SIFC-shepharded constitutional amendment if that would appease any potential investors!
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test Jul 08, 2024 06:27pm
It reminds me of the japanese auto makers which came to Pakistan and looted the country for 50 years but when Chinese automakers came our policy makers were not eager to adopt such legislative measure
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