Govt. fully supports holding of LCCI OIC Investment Conference in April 2014

LAHORE, January 31-PPI: – The government on Friday pledged to extend full support to 2nd LCCI OIC Investment Conference scheduled for April 2014.The assurance was given by the Governor Punjab Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar while talking to a five member delegation led by LCCI President Engineer Sohail Lashari and comprising Senior Vice President Mian Tariq Misbah, Vice President Kashif Anwar, Chairman LCCI OIC Committee Husnain Raza Mirza and Vice Chairman Syed Mehmood Ghaznavi.

While appreciating the Lahore Chamber initiative, the Governor said that the OIC countries must enhance their interaction as the trade has emerged as engine of growth and prosperity of nations. The OIC countries with their immense natural and human resources, have great potential for economic cooperation. However, the existing level of intra-OIC trade was far below this potential. He added that the global Halal Market alone has a very huge potential and the OIC countries must leverage their comparative advantage in Halal products by ensuring highest standards of quality.

The Governor was of the view that if the private sector and the government of OIC countries pool their efforts to increase their trade, nothing can stop them from becoming an economic block in the real term. He said that the Punjab government was putting in its best efforts to
get foreign investment and had already signed a number of agreements to facilitate the foreign investors. He said that the LCCI initiative would be supplementing the government’s efforts and it was a right step in right direction.

Speaking on the occasion, the LCCI President Engineer Sohail Lashari said that the current level of trade among the OIC countries was disappointing despite the fact that OIC member countries have religious, cultural ties and similarities and huge potential for trade. He said that the population of OIC Countries is one fourth of the total population of the world while their share in total volume of the trade is less than 10 per cent.

The objective of the 2nd LCCI Investment Conference was to identify the impediments to trade and escalate work on dismantling tariff and non-tariff barriers that are stalling growth in trade and investment. Engineer Sohail Lashari said that there is huge potential for increasing the share of the intra-OIC trade to address the issues of poverty, low economic growth and investment in the member states provided the problems restricting interaction and cooperation between
private sectors of the member states are removed.

He said that it was very unfortunate that a majority of the Muslim countries prefer trade with other countries than OIC states. “Improvement in trade within the OIC group can be a lot beneficial for the weaker economies”.

“Muslim countries do not trade with each other or invest in each other’s economies as they do with the industrialized and developed countries. “In order to attain the goal of progress and prosperity, the member states should start from lower levels of integration such as preferential trade agreements and free trade agreements.

The economy of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) combines the economies of 57 member states. These 57 countries have a combined GDP of $7,740 billion. The richest country on the basis of GDP per capita at PPP is United Arab Emirates. On basis of per capita GDP,
Qatar is the richest country with incomes exceeding US$108,000 per capita.

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