Pakistan may receive the most overseas investment in four years as companies set up wind and coal generation plants, helping curb the nation’s record energy shortage, a government agency official said.
“Pakistan serves as the gateway to Iran, central Asia and even India so we have a lot of potential to attract foreign investment,” Mohammad Zubair Motiwala, chairman, Sindh Board of Investment, said in an interview in Karachi today. “Energy is a field where an investor can come and really make money.”
Pakistan needs to increase overseas investment to help meet an economic growth target of 4.3 percent in the year that began July 1. Power outages lasting as long as 18 hours a day have led to factory shutdowns and riots across the nation.
Foreign direct investment may rise to $2.5 billion in the year that began July 1, mostly in energy, said Motiwala, 56. That would be the highest since the 12 months ended June 30, 2009, when overseas companies invested $3.7 billion. Overseas investment declined 50 percent to $813 million in the year ended June 30, according to the central bank.
Norway’s NBT AS and Malaysia’s Malakoff Corp. Bhd signed an agreement with Pakistan yesterday to build a $600 million wind power plant in the southern province of Sindh that will generate 500 megawatts a day within 18 months, Motiwala said.
South Korea, China and India are among the countries “most interested” to invest in Pakistan, he said.
Pakistan’s $200 billion economy faces the fastest inflation in Asia, an insurgency on the Afghan border and reduced aid flows. Political tension has increased after a dispute between civilian leaders and the judiciary led to Yousuf Raza Gilani’s ouster as prime minister last month.
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