elaborates on the continued escalation of oil prices: "the oil market has been very volatile for nearly a year or more and that volatility has increased because of the supply and demand balance being narrowed.
But despite the uncertainty and panic prevailing in the international sphere, Rahmatullah
remains positive about Pakistan's long term opportunities: "Looking at it with a long term view, the market is upbeat in that the economy is doing well as indicated by GDP growth which has been around 6%.The two months of July and August also indicated positive upturns in the economy.Petroleum consumption is increasing."
observes that the Pakistan market remains largely untapped and therefore presents significant potential for growth and investment: "One has to look at this from the perspective of what the potential is and when you look at that, you still have just about 4% of the population using vehicles out of a population of 150 million.
However, in order to make the potential for investment more attractive, Rahmatullah
identifies the areas that need urgent attention.Firstly, he
stresses the need for improved law and order within the country.Secondly, he
also feels that Pakistan's infrastructure needs to be developed further, particularly port facilities which at present admit only 60,000 to 70,0000 tankers.He
also advises a reduction in the cost of doing business, for example freight costs and tariffs should be revised.Furthermore, he
stresses the need for a level playing field in terms of Pakistan State Oil which is yet to be privatised.
While the Middle East remains the mother lode of crude, war and instability underscore the perils of depending upon that region.Consequently, Pakistan has been considering importing oil from India which would result in reduced freight charges, translating into lower prices for the consumer.Furthermore, the availability of oil from a cheaper source would prompt the Middle East to supply oil on better terms.But the suggestion of importing oil from India has met with a mixed response.Rahmatullah
highlights the opportunity for increased bilateral trade between the two countries: "We are in deficit of high speed diesel oil, India as a potential source could present a freight advantage.
An area of concern for Rahmatullah
is the high levels of unemployment and the lack of skilled manpower within the country.
...Farooq Rahmatullah is also Chairman of the Overseas Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI).He
believes that while Pakistan presents attractive investment opportunities, it suffers from the negative image which is projected abroad: "Pakistan is handicapped because the perception of the country is not positive to the extent that it should be".However, Rahmatullah
is determined to rectify the somewhat tainted world perception of Pakistan: "we are proposing to hold an investment conference to hear our own success stories which will indicate to the investor our growth potential".