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Pakistan, China forge stronger collaborative ties

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September 22, 2023 (MLN): Pakistan and China are engaged in very positive and constructive discussions on economic matters, and China is looking at Pakistan with a realistic and broad-based perspective, that goes beyond debt issues, caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar said in an interview with Bloomberg Television yesterday.

He stated that China is interested in investing in multiple sectors in Pakistan, especially in infrastructure and energy.

Furthermore, he addressed the recent protests in the country concerning the surge in power and fuel prices.

He expressed optimism that the upcoming winter season would alleviate the pressure on electricity consumption and help mitigate social unrest.

He also revealed that the government is trying to privatize transmission companies, and is trying to expand its tax system so the country does not rely too much on the indirect taxes included in electricity bills.

"We are trying initially to privatize our transmission bodies, along with the generating units, they are also in the cards." Anwaar-ul-Haq stated.

The prime minister emphasized that the IMF did not drive the privatization process, but was encouraged by the consensus among the political parties that the state should engage in business activities.

He remarked, "There is a significant issue of electricity theft and substantial financial losses associated with it. Non-payment by consumers and administrative complications exacerbate the problem."

"Therefore, when private parties engage in contracts, we anticipate they will deliver improved services, which could have positive economic and business implications." he added.

Although he declined to give a timeline for the completion of the privatization deals, but said that he was optimistic.

$50bn investments from Gulf countries

Regarding the $50 billion of investments from Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the prime minister emphasized the serious commitment of GCC countries, led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, to invest in various sectors in Pakistan.

He added that the $50bn figure is not a strict limit, but rather a starting point. These countries approach the investment opportunity with an open mind, and if they perceive additional business opportunities or offerings from Pakistan, the investment amount could potentially surpass that initial figure.

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Posted on: 2023-09-22T20:52:48+05:00