Singaporean investors keen to become part of CPEC

  • ‘Business community of Singapore can take advantage of Pakistan’s geographic location as a center point to the South Asian, Central Asian, Gulf and Middle Eastern markets’

LAHORE: A high-level business delegation from Singapore on Friday held business-to-business (B2B) meetings with their Pakistani counterparts to explore new trade and investment opportunities in Pakistan.

The delegation members represented a wide range of sectors, including construction, oil & gas, agriculture & livestock, chemicals, professional services, plastic & rubber, logistics, packaging, power, marble and halal food etc.

Head of the delegation Shamsher Zaman, who is also Singapore’s Ambassador to Jordan, and Almas Hyder, President of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), termed the meet up a historic “economic event” as this was the first time that a high-level Singaporean business delegation is looking for investment opportunities in Pakistan.

Speaking on the occasion, Shamsher Zaman noted that Singapore is a small country as compared to Pakistan, yet it is one of the strong economies of the world. He said interaction between business communities of the two countries can greatly help Pakistan learn from the experience of Singapore.

He said that the Singaporean businessmen are keen to invest in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects, as Singaporean companies have a lot of expertise in infrastructure development, construction and industrial parks.

“Like Pakistan, the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are an important part of Singapore’s economy,” he stated. “Singaporean businessmen started engaging with countries in Africa and the Middle East, and despite starting from scratch, their businesses today are worth billions of dollars,” he added.

Zaman stressed that the Pakistani businessmen should form a close liaison with their Singaporean counterparts, as the latter are not much aware of the trade and investment opportunities in the former.

“Pakistan is a big market with over 200 million people and Singapore wants to capitalise on the opportunities here,” he said, stressing the need for regular exchange of trade delegations on a reciprocal basis.

LCCI President Almas Hyder on the occasion said that Singapore can be rated as the best model country for the entire continent.

“It takes a lot to become a highly developed and successful free-market economy. Maintaining a corruption-free environment, keeping the prices stable, and sustaining per capita GDP higher than most of the developed countries speaks volumes of the governing system and economic planning of Singapore,” he remarked.

The LCCI president said that the balance of trade between the two countries has traditionally been in favour of Singapore. Among the top importing and exporting destinations for Pakistan, Singapore comes at 16th and 42nd places respectively, he added.

He said that although the figures of bilateral trade are almost $1 billion, both countries have a great potential to double these figures in five years.

Hyder said that the Pakistani government is committed to ensuring a business-friendly environment for the foreign investors, adding that special economic zones are being established under CPEC while friends of Pakistan are initiating a number of mega projects in the country.

“It is important that the current level of cooperation between Pakistani and Singaporean business community is formalized. Singapore business community can take advantage of Pakistan’s geographic location as a center point to the South Asian, Central Asian, Gulf and Middle Eastern markets. The future is bright for us and we should make the most of it,” the LCCI president concluded.