ISTANBUL/ISLAMABAD: In a major development, the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) Trade and Development Bank on Saturday announced to provide financial assistance worth Rs35 billion (€150 million) to Pakistan.
The development came during a meeting between Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and ECO Trade and Development Bank President Yalcin Yuksel in Istanbul.
Yuksel said the financial package will contribute to the flood relief efforts as well as financial support for the import of fuel. He maintained that overall financial assistance to Pakistan since the inception of the bank would touch approximately one billion dollars, after the disbursement of this committed amount.
Speaking on the occasion, PM Shehbaz thanked the ECO Trade and Development Bank and appreciated its important role in meeting the development-related pursuits of member countries.
He underlined that the provision of financial assistance by the ECO Bank at a time when Pakistan faces economic and environmental challenges is highly appreciated by the government and people of Pakistan.
The prime minister said that ECO Bank has been an important entity in the overall institutional framework of ECO member countries and its long-standing relations with Pakistan are commendable.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif on Saturday stressed upon the Turkish companies to invest in Pakistan, as the infinite potential between the two brotherly countries should also be reflected in the bilateral trade and business.
Addressing a Turkiye-Pakistan Business Council meeting, the prime minister said his government would no longer tolerate any snags and impediments in the way of investment from foreign investors, including the Turkish brothers.
He reassured that his government would fully provide hassle and red tape free environment to Turkish investors.
He informed that during his meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, it was conveyed that more Turkish companies were eager to come to Pakistan.
The prime minister said that it was regrettable that in the tenure of the past government, the Turkish companies that had invested in Pakistan were not given their due payments. Similar, was the case with the Turkish airlines operating in Pakistan.
The prime minister said such a lethargy and red tape were not acceptable to his government and the people of Pakistan as they had benefited from the Turkish investment and support.
“I want to convey this message to all, through you that we are brothers and family and will not tolerate such snags and impediments that hurt our ties,” he said, and reassured that his government would address their genuine issues.
He said to further promote their bilateral trade and business relations, work on “Trade and Goods Agreement” between the two brotherly countries would be expedited. He said that they had singed an MoU to enhance the bilateral trade volume up to $5 billion in the next three years.
Turkiye’s annual trade stood around $250 billion dollars and the trade between Pakistan and Turkiye was hovering around one and a half billion dollars, which was peanuts while considering the immense potential, he added. The prime minister stressed that such a scenario did not reflect their exemplary brotherly ties and stressed upon fully exploring the indefinite potential on both sides.
He said the governments might come and go, but the trade and business ties between the brotherly countries should not be impacted.
The prime minister said that China was a sincere and time-tested friend of Pakistan that had invested about 33 billion dollars in the flagship China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) during 2014 to 2018 before the completion of Nawaz Sharif’s government and subsequently, it was slowed down.
The prime minister also noted that the world had been passing through difficult challenges, like the Russia-Ukraine conflict which saw spiralling prices of commodities and petroleum prices with the supply of gas becoming scant.
Countries like Pakistan were suffering due to such scenario; wheat and fertilizers were hugely required by Pakistan to meet its domestic requirements.
The prime minister also lauded President Erdogan for making diplomatic efforts and rescuing the world by streamlining the supply of wheat from Ukraine.
He also mentioned the incredible efforts of United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres in this regard.
The prime minister, narrating the initiatives of his government to meet Pakistan’s energy requirements, said that the government had decided and resolved to cut down the import of very expensive oil and petroleum products import over which they had spent $27 billion in the last year. The country could not afford import of such costly oil and petroleum products, he added.
The prime minister informed that they had arranged a conference over the energy issues in Islamabad, which was attended by foreign investors.
During the moot, they had rolled out a project of 10,000 MW solar investment in Pakistan, he said, adding that they had been committed to implementing this scheme and also ensuring an enabling and friendly environment to investors.
The prime minister assured the Turkish investors that his government would ensure speedy payments, within a period of sixty days through a very transparent manner.
Terming it “a gateway to new order in Pakistan’, the prime minister expressed the confidence that it would save them from import of costly oil and other products. “Come to Pakistan and I will assure you that we are great partners,” he added.
The prime minister said that Pakistan and Turkiye both believed in the peaceful coexistence and regretted that some countries had the habit of dictating terms, but the use of peaceful means should be the world order.
The PM on Saturday appreciated the contribution of Turkish business enterprises operating in Pakistan and contributing to the development and growth of Pakistan’s economy.
The prime minister held one-on-one meetings with leading businesspersons of Turkiye. The delegations of Pak Yatirim, Anadolu Group, Zorlu Enerji, Albayrak and Guris Holdings were led by their respective owners and CEOs, PM Office Media Wing said in a press release.
The prime minister urged the businessmen to invest in Pakistan, particularly in the evolving energy sector, especially in the renewables and assured complete support of Pakistan’s government.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Saturday chaired the Pak-Turkiye Business Council meeting in Ankara to harness the potential of the Trade in Goods Agreement 2022 which was pivotal for opening new vistas of opportunities and enhanced trade and investment between the two countries.
This was stated by Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb sharing a video clip of the meeting on her Twitter handle.
She said that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Saturday underlined Pakistan government’s diligent efforts to ameliorate key obstacles hampering Turkish investment in Pakistan and assured the government’s commitment to ensure ease of doing business. Using her twitter handle, she said that the PM stated this while addressing Pak-Turkiye Business Council meeting in Ankara. She said that Shehbaz Sharif drew attention towards immense untapped business and trade aspects between the two countries.
She said the Prime Minister persuaded Turkish business community about Pakistani govt’s unflinching support and vowed to herald new era of Trade diplomacy.
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Soon after the blast, the police reached the site and cordoned off the area.