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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Property developers urged to tap Pakistan's construction sector

PAKISTAN is fast becoming the destination of choice for Malaysian investors with its "lucrative incentives", revealed a study by several Malaysian businessmen following a recent visit to the republic.

Datuk Mohamad Salim Fateh Din, who is the honorary investment counselor of Board of Investment of Pakistan based in Malaysia, urged property developers to be among the first to tap Pakistan's construction market due to the strong demand for modern property developments.

"There is immense scope to grow existing volume of trade between both countries as well as invest with Special Economic Zones exclusively for Malaysian investors," he said at a briefing in Petaling Jaya yesterday.

The Board of Investment serves as a facilitator to Malaysian investors.

Mohamad Salim had visited key cities in Pakistan like Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore and Faisalabad as part of a high-level Malaysian delegation to explore trade and business and investment opportunities. It found that the environment there is ideal and safe for investors.

During its week-long stay in Pakistan, the delegation visited various industrial sites, met with the political and economic leaders and held talks with top business leaders to establish business to business networking.

The large consumer market of Karachi with its 15 million population and Lahore with its eight million population both have robust purchasing power, giving rise to the presence of international hypermarket brands.

"Medium-scale shopping malls with integrated family choices offers another investment potential as there is a huge vacuum in this market."

High rise condominium lifestyle has also caught on in these cities and Malaysian developers can have a joint venture with Pakistani counterparts in the construction.

High Commissioner Lt General (Retd) Tahir Mahmud Qazi said Pakistan has a lot to offer to investors, especially in engineering, power, horticulture and manufacturing sectors.

"Pakistan offers incentives to Malaysian investors such as duty-free import of capital goods, allotment of land for factories with 50 to 100 year lease, one stop approval and protection for investors through an act of Parliament."

For the first five months of this year, Malaysian exports to Pakistan totalled RM2.45 billion from RM2.58 billion in the same period in 2008.

There are currently 14 Malaysian companies in Pakistan actively engaged in infrastructure, housing, roads, energy and solid waste management.

By Business Times (by Rupa Damodaran)

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