Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Hussain Chaudhry has said that the government is focusing on biotechnology, precision agriculture and battery manufacturing aimed at enhancing production as well as exports.
“We have set big targets of introducing biotechnology, precision agriculture, and battery storage in the country and for this purpose, the Chinese entrepreneurs can play an important role by investing in these sectors,” he said in an interview.
The minister said he is holding important meetings with all the big solar manufacturers and briefing them about the ample investment opportunities introduced by the government in Pakistan. “We want Chinese companies to set up their manufacturing units and start production as early as possible,” he added.
Fawad said that the alternate energy policy is being finalized and it would be announced soon. “It will encourage investor especially from China to invest in this sector.” He said that Pakistan had huge potential to become an export hub and there would be great opportunities of exports to Afghanistan, Central Asia, and Arab countries.
He said that modern road infrastructure is available in Pakistan and after completion of the Sukkur-Karachi Motorway, the transportation of goods would be faster owing to the connectivity. The work on eight billion dollars ML-I railways project would also be started very soon and it would further improve the communication network, he said.
The minister said that the largest biotechnology center is being set up in South Asia. “Green energy is the future. The transmission of electricity will be made through green energy rather than poles and cables.” Regarding the facilitation of the companies that intended to invest in Pakistan, he said the government had already sped up the process and offered huge investment opportunities to the Chinese companies.
He said that the Chinese businessmen are the largest investors in Pakistan and acknowledged their pivotal role in the development. To a question, he said that the government had shifted its focus from services to manufacturing in a bid to enhance exports. “We have cut down imports from $19 billion to $12 billion with 35 percent decrease while our exports have increased by six percent.”
Currently, he said the country is importing around 1000 megawatts of solar cells from China. “We can save billions of rupees by setting up manufacturing units for which we are very close to achieving our targets.” He said that attention is also being paid for the provision of potable water and his ministry is in close coordination with Chinese in that regard.
The minister said that efforts are on to increase export capacity and his ministry is trying to introduce chemical and Chinese herbal medicines in the country which are very popular in the world. “We are setting up Asia’s largest herbal medicine park in Pakistan and similarly, there is a focus to enhance precision or high-value agriculture, besides the establishment of biotechnology park in the Jhelum district.”
Stressing a need to enhance manufacturing capacity, he said that China is planning to diversify its industry in the backdrop of its trade ‘war’ with the US and relocating its industry in Vietnam and the Philippines. “It provides a good opportunity to Pakistan and I think we should double our efforts to encourage Chinese entrepreneurs to set up their industrial units in Pakistan,” he added.
Fawad said in his meeting with Chinese companies, he was trying to convince them to set up solar and battery manufacturing units. “We will bring the first batch of 8,000 battery rickshaws in the market in a very short possible time.” He also expressed a need to further enhance cooperation on science and technology between the two countries.