Wednesday April 24, 2024

Army chief invites foreign investors to explore Pakistan’s ‘hidden reserves’

At minerals summit, Gen Munir urges all stakeholders to fulfil social responsibility towards economy

By Web Desk
August 01, 2023
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Asim Munir attends Pakistan Minerals Summit in Islamabad in this still taken from a video on August 1, 2023. — YouTube/PTVNews
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Asim Munir attends Pakistan Minerals Summit in Islamabad in this still taken from a video on August 1, 2023. — YouTube/PTVNews 

Army Chief General Syed Asim Munir has called for fulfilling social responsibility towards the betterment of the country’s economy and invited foreign investors to explore Pakistan’s “hidden reserves”.

Addressing the "Pakistan Minerals Summit" in Islamabad on Tuesday, the army chief said there are vast mining opportunities in our country that will be realised through joint efforts.

“We must never lose hope,” he added.

Gen Munir invited foreign investors to play their due role in exploring the hidden reserves of Pakistan and to fully utilise this potential as the country is blessed with rich mineral resources.

He said the authorities will ensure an investor-friendly system to soften terms and avoid unnecessary delays.

Gen Asim said Pakistan's first mineral summit laid down new rules of ease of doing business for domestic and foreign investors in Pakistan as mineral projects are keys to success.

He said the government of Pakistan in collaboration with all the institutions assured the establishment of the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC), which brings all the stakeholders on one platform.

He said it is our social responsibility to play our role in unison for the country's economy.

Addressing the ceremony, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif called for exploring the untapped resources including the vast natural minerals and reserves, and developing the agriculture, information technology, and industrial sectors.

The prime minister regretted that the country’s journey of 75 years was dotted with bitter factors as they could not fully exploit the precious natural deposits estimated at worth $6 trillion.

“The day gives an opportunity to self-contemplation over a journey of last 75 years and the reasons which landed Pakistan into this situation with a begging bowl,” he added.

Elaborating his viewpoint, he said with Russian support, Pakistan Steel Mills was established during the 70s while in Reko Diq a hefty penalty of $10 billion was imposed on Pakistan and if it was enforced, the entire country’s foreign reserves would have been depleted.

The prime minister referred to the Thar coal mines reserves and said these were being converted for the development of Pakistan.

The summit was attended by federal ministers, foreign delegates, ambassadors, experts, relevant authorities and investors.

The army chief was included in a Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) formed by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif for economic revival in June this year.

The military’s inclusion in the body — led by the PM and also comprising federal ministers — is aimed at complementing the government's efforts to deal with economic challenges facing the country.

The government unveiled an elaborate ‘Economic Revival Plan’ with a view to capitalise on Pakistan’s untapped potential in key sectors, fast-track the development projects and facilitate investment in a bid to steer the country of economic crisis.

The total liquid foreign reserves held by the country stood at $13.534 billion.

Last month, Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves got a boost after the country’s receiving the first tranche of $1.2 billion from the International Monetary Fund, under a shot-term standby arrangement approved by the lender of the last resort. Inflows from friendly countries, including Saudi Arabia and the UAE, also contributed in the increase in the reserves.

SBP reserves had surged by $4.2 billion to $8.7 billion as of July 14, highest level in nine months, thanks to financial support from the bilateral and multilateral partners.

Analysts noted that that was the highest level of foreign exchange reserves seen since October 2022 and hailed as a boost to the nation’s balance of payments and investor confidence in the economy.

— With additional input from Radio, APP