LAHORE - Ambassador of Switzerland Thomas Kolly has said that SMEs of Switzerland are eager to enter in Pakistani market.

He was visiting Punjab Board of Investment and Trade along with a high level delegation for the renewal of memorandum of understanding between Punjab Board of Investment and Swiss Business Council to increase bilateral trade, encourage investment, augment business linkages and facilitate people-to-people contacts.

Chief Executive Officer PBIT Jahanzeb Burana and President Swiss Business Council, Farhat Ali signed MoU from their respective sides. Jahanzeb Burana greeted and briefed the delegation about initiatives of the new government that are being followed to uplift the economy of Pakistan. He said that the development of social sector such as health and education are of high priority in the new government’s agenda. While highlighting the rapid development of Special Economic Zones in Punjab, he informed the delegation that seven new SEZs were going to be announced soon which would offer business friendly environment and opening of immense investment opportunities in Punjab.

Thomas Kolly thanked CEO PBIT for the warm welcome and told the participants that Switzerland is among the top five foreign direct investors of Pakistan and their companies are actively involved in number of sectors in Pakistan. Nestle, Archroma, ABB Group, Novartis, SIKA AG, Clariant and Gate Gourmet are amongst the major Swiss investors in Pakistan. He said that the initiatives of the government to decentralize many of its operations and the proactive approach in addressing the concerns of foreign investors were also praised by the Ambassador.

While talking about the business environment, Kolly shared his thoughts that Pakistan has a suitable environment for small and medium enterprises and the SMEs of Switzerland are eager to enter in Pakistani market.  The ambassador further stated that the representative of Swiss Global Enterprises (SGE) will be visiting Pakistan in December and will meet with the representatives of sectors like food processing, pharmaceutical and SME.

CEO PBIT further apprised the forum that government of Punjab is working on setting up sector specific parks/industrial zones. In this context, auto parks are going to be set in Punjab. Moreover, agri food parks are also in pipeline in the food and fruit growing parts of Punjab.

While speaking on the occasion, Farhat Ali, president Pakistan-Swiss Business Council, emphasized on the great potential of investment available in Pakistan for Swiss SMEs. He further apprised that the Swiss SME sector is worth 2 to 3 billion Swiss Francs. He said that meetings like these should be conducted on regular basis.

Haroon Shaukat, Chief Operating Officer of PBIT, proposed that an exclusive session should be conducted to discuss the issue of pharma sector and brainstorm on how to fast-track their resolutions. The ambassador seconded the idea and showed his commitment to organize the session and assured his continued support for the development of Punjab in future as well.

Dignitaries including Fletcher P Albert, Business Development Manager Swiss Business Council, Farukh Rehan, Managing Director Roche Ltd, Asif Ikram, Managing Director SICPA Inks Pakistan Ltd, Shahab Rizvi, CPO Head Novartis Pharma Pakistan Ltd, Ajwat Arsalan, Advisor on Commercial Affairs Embassy of Switzerland, Ali Mansoor Sika and high ups of PBIT were also present on this occasion.