Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday said corruption was one of the biggest impediments to investments coming into the country.
Addressing the China Council for Promotion of International Trade, PM Imran said the government was committed to providing an investor-friendly environment.
Hailing the economic progress made by China, the prime minister said the way it [China]has lifted seven hundred million people out of poverty in the last thirty years was an example for the whole world.
He also appreciated President Xi Jinping’s campaign against corruption.
“One of President’s Xi’s crusades has been against corruption and from I hear that some 400 ministerial-level people in the last five years have been convicted of corruption and put behind jail,” PM Imran said.
He continued, “This is important not only for Pakistan but for most of the developing world because corruption stops investment. Corruption is one of the biggest impediments to the investments coming into your country.”
“Firms will invest in economies that are cleaner,” the prime minister said.
“I wish I could follow President Xi’s example and put 500 corrupt people in Pakistan in jail,” PM Imran lamented.
The prime minister also invited the Chinese companies to invest in the diverse sectors of Pakistan including housing, textile, manufacturing, IT and financial services, physical and technological logistics, agriculture, oil and gas and tourism and hospitality.
He added, “Pakistan is opening up for the businesses and it was a great time for the Chinese companies to invest in the country.”
Assuring the participants that the prime minister’s office will be dealing with all the major investments, PM Imran said all CPEC related investments will also be dealt from the PM office in order to remove all the hurdles in the way of investors.
He added Pakistan was encouraging the businesses to make big profits as the wealth creation will enable us to lift the people out of poverty on the pattern of China.
Speaking about Gawadar, the prime minister said Gwadar smart port city master plan has been approved. “Work on Gwadar airport is in progress and it will be completed soon,” PM Imran said, “We are now especially concentrating on our Special Economic Zones.”
The premier further said Pakistan was encouraging businesses to make big profits as the wealth creation will enable us to lift the people out of poverty on the pattern of China.
He added the present government has also liberalized the visa regime so that the Chinese can get the visas on arrival at the airport. “This facility has been extended to many other countries as well,” he noted.
Alluding to the geo-strategic location of Pakistan, the prime minister said Pakistan’s unique location and its young and vibrant population makes it the attractive country for investment.
“Our labour cost is only about twenty per cent of what is in China. Our government has taken a conscious decision to ensure ease of doing business. Pakistan has made the biggest strides in ease of doing business in the world,” he said.
PM Imran arrived at Beijing’s great hall later in the day, where he received a warm welcome.
The PM met with his Chinese counterpart, and was presented a guard of honour.
The prime minister arrived in Beijing on Tuesday on a two-day visit to hold meetings with the Chinese leadership. During his visit, PM Imran will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang.
Both Chinese leaders will separately host banquets in honour of the prime minister. A number of agreements and MoUs are expected to be signed at a ceremony to be witnessed by the two prime ministers.
PM Imran also held a series of meetings with representatives of Chinese companies in Beijing and invited them to invest in Pakistan.
China Gezhouba Group Chairman Lyu Zexiang called on the prime minister in a meeting attended by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Planning Minister Khusro Bakhtiar, Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid, Commerce Adviser Razak Dawood, Special Assistant Nadeem Babar and Chairman Board of Investment Zubair Gillani.
In another meeting, the prime minister met the CEO of Long March Tyre Company Li Qingwen and discussed investment and business scenario.
Chairman of Board Orient Holdings Group Limited Jiang Xueming also called on the prime minister and discussed industrial matters.
In another meeting, Chairman China Metallurgical Group Corporation (MCC) Guo Wenqing also met PM Imran.