LAHORE - Pakistan is a resource-rich and great country but it needs to focus on improving its perception in the outer world that is the biggest impediment in the way of foreign direct investment.

This was stated by the Ambassador of Oman Mohamed Said Mohamed Al-Lawati while speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Saturday. LCCI President Irfan Qaiser Sheikh presented the address of welcome while LCCI Vice President Saeeda Nazar gave a set of suggestions as to how the two-way trade volume could be enhanced.

The ambassador said that the government of Pakistan should evolve a well tailored marketing strategy to market its strengths in various sectors as a number of foreigners are desirous of putting their money here but are unaware of the potential areas.

“Had a little attention been given towards the marking of Pakistan, the investment scenario in this part of the world would have been quite encouraging.”

Speaking on the occasion, LCCI president Irfan Qaiser Sheikh emphasized the need to expand trade and business relations between Pakistan and Oman as there is great potential for it in a number of sectors particularly energy development.

The LCCI president informed the Oman Ambassador that despite a number internal and external challenges being faced by the country, dynamism of the private sector has set Pakistan on a high growth trajectory.

He said that Pakistan is located at the confluence of three vital regions - South Asia, Central Asia, and West Asia - providing shortest access to the sea for all landlocked countries of Central Asia as well as Western China. Being close to the Gwadar, Oman can hugely benefit from this unique opportunity and explore multiple corridors of cooperation with Central Asia and Western China especially in the fields of energy, trade, transportation and tourism, he said .

Irfan Qaiser Sheikh said Oman and Pakistan have a vital role to play for the cause of peace, harmony and development in this region.

The LCCI President said that Oman has a rich experience in oil exploration. Therefore, he said, Omani companies can go for joint venture in exploration of oil in Pakistan. Moreover, Pakistan can provide manpower services in sectors like education, health, engineering, construction, telecommunication and etc. Both countries are moving ahead through various agreements on defence cooperation, business sectors, labour & manpower and etc.

Pakistan-Oman Joint Investment Company which was established in order to enhance trade between Oman and Pakistan has got a great role to play. Irfan Qaiser Sheikh said that the trend of total trade between the two countries has been inconsistent.

Some improvement in 2009 was witnessed as our two way trade figure grew from $393 million to $417 million. But in 2010, it was dropped to $297 million. The analysis of imports from Oman further confirms this inconsistency.