Had it been asked “how wise would it be to invest in an economically crippled and terrorized country?” the reply would be “suicide”. Unfortunately, Pakistan is a country which could not be termed a stable country, yet a number of opportunities are available for investors and execution on many projects is pending due to financing issues. If these projects get materialized successfully, it would pull the country out of the darkness caused by energy crisis.
The projects of Thar coal, IP, TAPI and LNG import aren’t new but under consideration for many years. The successive governments were unable to make progress on these projects due to inconsistent policies. Considering the much-talked looming energy crisis and the oil import bill of $14 billion, earliest completion of these projects is essential.
No doubt Pakistan has always been a great market for investment; especially its geo-strategic position has always been of big attraction to businessmen. It hasn’t been a year since the new government took charge. It’s a good omen that their policies have started showing positive signs, foreign investment has started pouring in Pakistan, the KSE is making new records of its bullish trend, GDP is likely to grow.
What needs to be appreciated is the enforcement of the petroleum 2012 policy of previous government which the former government couldn’t. It is a good precedent that the present government is carrying the feasible projects and policies of the last government, addressing the short comings of those policies to make them more liberal and result oriented. This behavior was also keenly noticed by the international watch dogs compelling them to break the conventional ambit of their thoughts about Pakistan.
Government shouldn’t take decisions in isolation but keep the provinces and other stakeholder’s cognizant of all the developments.
Today’s Pakistan is different and so is its future. Recent announcement from China to invest 20 billion dollars on the Pakistani projects is a historical achievement. This will no doubt add confidence to other foreign investors and will be a very strong economic indicator.
In order to prove that the foreign investors had made a right decision choosing Pakistan for investment, government has to act vigilantly to ensure that its institutions are on the same note with the government policies to facilitate foreign as well as local investors. Government must ensure that delays in procedure, corruption and other ill practices are not being followed.
LNG import is a quick and good solution to gas shortage but government should keep the process open so that it isn’t hurt by controversies like many projects in the past. We need to rationalize prices as subsidizing gas to consumers isn’t good for long term. The prices may increase but the government should keep the supply going so that the wheel of economy keeps moving.