ISLAMABAD - The government on Tuesday invited Italy to explore investment opportunities in various sectors including infrastructure, energy, agriculture and technology.

During Pakistan-Italy Investment Forum, jointly organised by the Board of Investment and Italian Embassy in Pakistan, Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif urged the Italian investors to invest in Pakistan in different sectors. He pointed out that the country has become a very lucrative destination for the foreign investors after China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.

“Pakistan is blessed with huge energy resources, which includes over 60,000MW of hydel potential, 340,000MW potential for wind energy and potential of 2,324 million MW for solar thermal & photovoltaic systems. In addition, 105 trillion cubic feet of shale gas reserves and 9 billion barrels of shale oil reserves are yet to be tapped. Furthermore, the country is fortunate to have 185 billion tonnes of coal reserves which can be used for power generation as well as diesel production,” he added.

Board of Investment Chairman Dr Miftah Ismail highlighted that the country is offering a very liberal investment regime in the region with diverse and business friendly incentives. He informed the participants that under the leadership of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and Finance Minister Muhammad Ishaq Dar, the country’s economic outlook has altogether changed in the last three years.

As a result of the current government’s consistent efforts, GDP growth of 4.71 percent was achieved in last year which was the highest in last seven years, he said. The country has made a considerable improvement in restoring economic stability and now the economy is moving on a high growth trajectory, he added. He said stock market is touching historic high and crossed 40,000 points, adding that the confidence of foreign and local investors has increased on the government’s friendly trade and investment policies. During 2016, Inflation contained at 2.79 percent, which is the lowest in last 13 years, foreign exchange reserves are touching new heights and remittances are on the rise, he added.

On the occasion, Italy’s Deputy Minister for Economic Development Ivan Scalfarotto expressed a dire need to establish inter-governmental framework between the two countries to further boost trade relations between the two countries. He urged to boost up exchange of business delegations between the two countries for further improvement of trade between the countries.

He expressed satisfaction over the economic growth of Pakistan and highlighted improvement in the country’s economy and said that Italian companies are well aware about the investment scope and potential of Pakistani market. He said that huge Chinese investment in Pakistan and TAPI gas projects will play a vital role in the economic development of Pakistan and for the region.

The forum was also addressed by Sindh BOI Chairperson Naheed Memon and Mohsin Syed, heads of provincial investment promotion agencies from Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.