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Japan asks Pakistan to resolve CNG, auto sector problems - thenews.com.pk
[LEFT]Japan asks Pakistan to resolve CNG, auto sector problems
Mehtab HaiderSaturday, September 08, 2012
From Print Edition
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ISLAMABAD: Identifying inconsistent policies as the major stumbling block in the way of boosting foreign investment in Pakistan, Japan has asked Islamabad to resolve the existing problems of compressed natural gas (CNG) supply to vehicles, senior officials of the Japanese embassy told reporters here on Friday.
It has further asked the federal capital to put in place appropriate auto policies and ensure macroeconomic stability and electricity supply for attracting investment in this part of the world, they said.
In order to ensure networking between the business tycoons of both the countries, Japan’s business mission is scheduled to visit Pakistan from October 6 to 11, 2012 for finding opportunities to boost avenues of partnership.
The government of Japan is organising this upcoming visit of the business mission to Pakistan and it will coincide with the Expo Pakistan in Karachi. The upcoming mission will be comprised of those Japanese companies which are interesting to invest in Pakistan. The mission will visit Karachi, Islamabad, Lahore and Sialkot.
Senior officials said that they were discussing possibilities for assisting Pakistan in different areas of the economy but funding for Diamer Basha dam was not yet finalised. “We have not decided whether we will fund Diamer Basha dam or not,” they added.
They said that they were conveying the message of vast opportunities that exist in Pakistan to potential investors.
There are currently approximately 60 to 70 Japanese companies working in Pakistan in different sectors of the economy, especially in areas of auto sector. However, they said: “The inconsistent policies are hurting Japanese companies to invest in Pakistan.” Pakistan is currently out of the scope for Japanese companies mainly because of security concerns, lack of infrastructure, inconsistent economic policies and lack of marketing, resulting into creating a ‘perception gap’ about the country, they said.
Citing an example of the inconsistent economic policies, a Japanese official said that the previous government had promoted the CNG industry by giving incentives to convert vehicles on this fuel but the existing government was discouraging the CNG sector.
They also cited the example of the auto sector and said that those companies which had invested in Pakistan would not like to see changes in the import policy of the auto sector. There might be different point of view from the prospective of customers but as private investors, there should be consistent policies for giving a long-term view to potential investors.
When asked whether Japan had used its aid as a leverageto get incentives for its auto sector companies, the embassy official said that there had been a linkage between the two issues. “We always want to use better utilisation of aid money,” he said.
In regards to the number of Japanese companies investing in Pakistan, he said it was on a rise but the speed for increasing investment was quite slow. To another query about finding opportunities for investment in Federally Administered Tribal Areas, the embassy officials said that Japan could not depute its staff in any volatile area of the country.
Another Article .........................
Bhasha dam, KCR project may be affected: Japan no longer considering investing: diplomat | Business Recorder
[h=1]Bhasha dam, KCR project may be affected: Japan no longer considering investing: diplomat[/h]
September 08, 2012
WASIM IQBAL0 Comments
The government of Japan is no longer considering investment in major hydroelectric projects such as Diamer-Bhasha dam and revival of Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) because of financial constraints, a Japanese diplomat said on Friday. The KCR project, costing Rs 140.2 billion, was recently approved by the Executive Committee of National Economic Council (Ecnec).
An official of the embassy of Japan told media persons that these projects required huge funding and the government of Japan was not in a position to finance these projects. Responding to a question regarding Bhasha dam, he said that Japan was not interested in investing in the construction phase of the dam. "It may invest in the power generation phase in future, depending on the situation," he added. The official also said that Japan International Co-operation Agency (Jica) has held a comprehensive study regarding the viability of Karachi Circular Railway, but had not yet reached any final conclusion, because it "also requires huge funding".
Pointing out inconsistencies in policies of Pakistani government, he said: "This takes Pakistan out of the scope of Japanese companies." He said Japanese firms working in Pakistan were facing a "lot of problems" According to him, the Board of Investment (BOI), which should act as a facilitator for foreign investors, "has no action plan".
The government of Japan, he said, had deputed a Japanese expert in the BOI who was working on capacity-building of staff so that they could attract foreign investment. He said that companies were unable to benefit from Port Qasim as there "is no road network to access the port...absence of infrastructure is another reason".
The embassy, he said, was receiving complaints from Japanese companies working in Pakistan regarding "absence of any appropriate auto policy, macroeconomic instability, power shortages and recent ban on CNG kits. This has deeper impact on the economic health of companies".
Despite difficulties, he believed, there was a huge potential to attract foreign investment. "High-skill labour force and growing market is a favourable factor. Similarly, Pakistan has geographical advantage, as it is located on crossroads to India, Afghanistan, Central Asia and the Gulf." He said that the government of Japan will soon send business mission to visit Pakistan from October 6-11, to coincide with Expo Pakistan in Karachi. "This Business Mission will include (representatives of) Japanese companies interested in investing in Pakistan. The objective is to address concerns of companies regarding security, infrastructure, economic policy consistency and lack of marketing."
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