KARACHI: The confidence of international investors in Pakistan’s economy is growing, which is manifested through the interest shown by the investors when the country recently issued $1-billion Sukuk in the international market, said British Deputy High Commissioner in Karachi Belinda Lewis.
Speaking during her visit to the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) on Friday, she said, “My understanding is that the (Pakistan) government wanted to raise half a billion dollars, but it got $1 billion because of all the interest from international investors; I think that is in itself great news.”
She was the second diplomat who visited the PSX in the past two days. The US consul general toured the bourse on Thursday.
These visits came at a time when the US stock market Nasdaq, Chinese bourses and over a dozen other strategic investors, including local financial institutions, were conducting due diligence to acquire up to 40% stake in the PSX by the end of next month.
“I think from the UK perspective, we have an increasing interest in investing in Pakistan. We want to increase bilateral trade and financial service is one of the key priority sectors for the UK,” she added.
Recently, “we have seen high-level correspondence between Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and the London Stock Exchange. We want to have more dialogue so that we can see what the two countries can do in business. It’s an ever growing relationship.”
The UK had over 30 years of experience in Islamic finance and it was its real strength, she said, adding Islamic finance was also growing in Pakistan at about 11% annually and that was the area where the two countries could collaborate closely.
PSX Managing Director Nadeem Naqvi aired the hope that the historic relationship between the PSX and UK businesses would further grow in the future.
Moreover, there was an increasing interest among Pakistanis living in the UK to invest in Pakistan, he said.
“Pakistan’s economy is growing and there are huge investment opportunities for overseas Pakistanis, especially for those who live in the UK,” Naqvi said. “We have to see how we can incentivise overseas Pakistani investors, as other countries do, to attract more investments.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 15th, 2016.