SAARC Chamber President to visit Pakistan from Tuesday

ISLAMABAD:President SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), Ruwan Edirisinghe is scheduled to arrive in Pakistan on July 10 (Tuesday) on a two-day visit to accelerate the efforts of the chamber in promoting economic, trade and investment linkages across the region.

The SCCI President is scheduled to hold high level meeting with SAARC CCI Headquarter Building Committee besides meeting with local business community and government officials.

“Ruwan, a leading industrialist and investor from Sri Lanka, is due to arrive in Islamabad on Tuesday where he will meet the business community and hold important meeting with SAARC CCI Headquarter Building Committee to evaluate the construction work of the building,” said SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry Senior Vice President (SVP) Iftikhar Ali Malik who is also Chairman Building Committee, while talking to media here.

He said that 95 per cent structure of the building has been completed under the supervision of high profile internationally accredited architects and designers.

He said that the government of Pakistan and magnates have contributed over 80 per cent of the total of the cost of the project valued at more than rupees one billion. He hoped that it will be completed before the end of current calendar.

He said during his stay, Ruwan is likely to meet important government officials and trade leaders.  He said his focus will continue to prioritize better connectivity and establishment of SAARC industrial parks for better investment facilitation.

He said there was a dire need to utilize this platform to bring prosperity in the region. “If we utilize our potential in its true order, our region could make higher pace of development within next decade, although currently it is lagging behind in terms of development, he added.

The private sector of the region is committed to the socioeconomic integration of South Asia, he said, adding that the business community of the region believes in harmony and advocates regional economic integration to address the major challenges the region faces, including job creation and poverty.

Iftikhar Malik said South Asian cooperation faces multiple challenges as this constitutes the world’s second least developed region after Sub-Saharan Africa and its per capita GDP, in terms of purchasing power parity, is three times below the global average while it has more poor people than the rest of the world.

Despite this, he said, SAARC region holds immense trade and investment potential and to actualize that potential special focus and effort is required for regional integration.

He said SAARC member countries must focus on removal of non-tariff barriers (NTBs) and must work for enhancing B2B interaction to boost trade.

He said SAARC CCI President Ruwan Edirising could play an important role as catalyst to bring all the member states together and ensure timely and effective implementation of programme and activities that would benefit the region.

Highlighting upcoming meetings of SAARC CCI President here in Pakistan, Iftikhar Malik said the agenda of the meetings will be focused on enhancing trade among all the SAARC countries- Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives, and Afghanistan. The matters pertaining to free trade in the SAARC region will also be discussed threadbare.

He said it will also be discussed in details about the proposal of harmonization of customs procedures and documentations in the region to facilitate movement of goods across the borders.

He also reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to regional cooperation under the umbrella of SAARC for promoting welfare of the people of South Asia, improving their quality of life, economic progress, social uplift and cultural cooperation.