Foreign direct investment by the UAE in Pakistan was worth more than $450 million (Dh1.7 billion) in the year up to July 2007, a senior official said yesterday.
However, this represented a significant decline compared to 2006 and previous years when a number of major projects and joint ventures were announced, said Pakistan Ambassador Ihsanullah Khan. One major project launched last year was the $5bn Khalifa Point oil refinery, which will be built in Pakistan’s natural resource-rich Balochistan province.
The refinery is being developed by Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Company. “We have several investment projects from the UAE and joint ventures in Pakistan,” said Khan, who is also Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources in the interim government.
“The oil refinery project is moving ahead positively.”
The value of trade between the UAE and Pakistan soared to $5.2bn last year – a huge increase over 2006.
The growth was the result of high oil prices and the weak dollar, said Khan, who forecast further growth this year. “The UAE’s imports from Pakistan reached $1.6bn – an increase of 13 per cent over 2006. The exports mainly included rice, petroleum products and non-traditional goods.
“The UAE’S exports to Pakistan reached $3.6bn. The exports mainly included crude oil, chemicals, plastic products and bullion. The increase in UAE exports last year was largely driven by high oil prices.”
He said the UAE-based Pakistani community contributed greatly to their country’s economy through investments and by remitting money home.
“Remittances from the UAE between July 2006 and July 2007 reached $800m.”
He said despite the high international market price of oil Pakistan had the lowest fuel prices in the region – “cheaper than in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka”.
“The government has faced the brunt so that people are not affected. If market prices go up further we will maintain our current prices and if they go down we will share the benefit with the people.”
When asked about the gas crisis, Khan said the shortage was the result of a combination of problems and factors including unexpectedly high demand due to the harsh winter and an increase in domestic and commercial consumption because of the economic boom.
“Sabotage has also contributed to the crisis with criminals blowing up pipelines. The law and order situation following the death of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto was another cause as the country has been badly affected due to protests and violence.”
The ambassador was speaking at a reception to mark the reopening of the Pakistani cultural centres in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain.
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