LAHORE: US Ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olson has promised US will be the main sponsor of the Bhasha Dam but on political issues he said corruption, governance and transparency would be best addressed through the democratic process.
He asked the people of Pakistan to avail the opportunity offered by elections by electing honest representatives.He was talking to the media at the Lahore Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) launch on Monday. The OSAC would represent the interest of American businesses in Pakistan.
He negated the impression that the economy of Pakistan has not benefitted from the Kerry Lugar bill. “This bill is reaching maturity but many important health and energy projects have been financed through this special assistance”, he said adding that a number of these projects would mature in near future. He said energy is an issue in Pakistan and the United States is fully committed to resolve this issue through available indigenous resources. “We have already added 400 MW power in the system through refurbishment of existing projects and another 900 MW would be added in 2013”, he added. Oslon said the United States would be the main sponsor in the funding of Bhasha dam. Regarding Pak Iran gas pipeline he said that US position in this regard is well known and it has not changed. He said Pakistan, United States working group on energy is formulating a strategy to resolve the energy issue on fast track.
On bilateral trade treaty the US ambassador said that Pakistan government is in a better position to state the progress.However he added that the US government had discussed this issue with Pakistani trade officials several times. He said continued economic reforms, including protection of intellectual property rights and internet freedom will create an environment conducive to trade and investment. He said Pakistan is in a good position as despite acute energy crisis its economy is projected to grow at 4 percent this year. He said two way trade between Pakistan and the United States totaled more than $5 billion and Pakistan exports more products to the United States than any other country in the world. He said the bilateral trade between the two countries would further grow.
He said US embassy expects significant investment from the US this year. “With a consumer base of more than 180 million people a young and educated work force and culture of entrepreneurship Pakistan offers significant business opportunities for American businesses”, he added. He congratulated the people of Pakistan for getting the opportunity to elect their representatives in fair and transparent way.