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Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Chairman of Pakistan Peoples Party, at the Sindh Investment Conference in Dubai on Tuesday Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: The chairman of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, on Tuesday in Dubai called on overseas Pakistanis and foreign investors – especially those in the UAE – to take advantage of the immense business opportunities in the Sindh Province.

“Pakistan, particularly Sindh province, is open to investors from around the world. We are particularly looking for investment in infrastructure development in Karachi—the largest city of Pakistan,” said Bilawal while speaking at the concluding session of the Sindh Investment Conference in Dubai, held as part of Pakistan’s participation at Expo 2020 Dubai.

Sindh province is highlighting its centuries-old civilization, culture and business opportunities at Pakistan Pavilion at Expo during December.

Tax-free business

“We have introduced a one-window operation for investors and 10-year tax-free business in the special free zones,” Bilawal added. He said that the Sindh government has developed a wide range of business plans for the Private Public Partnership (PPP).

The closing ceremony was also attended by Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development; Dr Thani Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade; Syed Murad Ali Shah, Chief Minister of Sindh; Afzaal Mahmood, Pakistan Ambassador to UAE and top officials from the Sindh government.

‘Strong partners’

In his speech, Sheikh Nahyan congratulated the Pakistan government for building Pakistan Pavilion that highlights its culture, values and future aspirations. He said: “Pakistan and UAE have been strong trade and business partners. We learn from each other to improve on economic front and endeavour to enhance trade and investment. UAE and Pakistan work together to ensure regional security and economic development as successful economy is fundamental to regional growth.”

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Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, at the conference Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Major deals

At least six MoUs (Memorandums of Understanding) were also signed on the occasion between different UAE and Pakistan-based companies. They include: Funding Start-ups, Investment Facilitation, Water to Energy Project; Water Desalination project; Building a Football Academy in Karachi; and E-Governance/ paperless government.

The day-long conference was addressed by eminent speakers and senior government officials including Chief Minister of Sindh Murad Ali Shah. Special assistant to CM on investment and public private partnership Qassim Naveed Qamar and Secretary Investment Department Bilal Ahmed also spoke at the conference.

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(L to R) Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Dr Thani Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, and Murad Ali Shah, Chief Minister Sindh, at the conference Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

The conference highlighted policies, procedures, tax structure, and trade incentives to investors for establishing and expanding businesses.

The conference also shared success stories of prominent entrepreneurs and their success in establishing and running their businesses in the province of Sindh. During the conference, special prominence was given to encourage and promote new start-ups by providing them this global platform.

‘Green Sindh’

Also, special focus was placed on the importance of promoting ‘Green Sindh’ with the help of solar fields and wind turbines providing clean energy as an aspect of protecting the environment.

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Sheikh Nahyan (centre), Bilawal (second from left), Murad Ali Shah, Chief Minister Sindh (fourth from left) and Afzaal Mahmood, Pakistani Ambassador to the UAE (extreme right) at the conference Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

UAE-Pakistan trade

The UAE is Pakistan’s largest trading partner in the Middle East and a major source of investments and remittances. The trade volume between the two countries amounted to around $8.19 billion (around Dh30 billion) in 2019.

Murad Ali Shah said: “The primary objective of today’s gathering is to explore further business opportunities between businesses in Sindh and the UAE, inviting investors, attracting FDI and showcasing Sindh in its entirety and unique tourism potential.”

Ahmed Shaikhani, President of Pakistan Business Council, thanked the Pakistani business community based in the UAE for being part of “a new journey”.