ISLAMABAD: Lord Mayor of Birmingham Councillor Muhammad Afzal has said that Pakistan and UK have great potential to promote bilateral trade and the Pakistani private sector should step up efforts to capitalise on this unrealised potential for achieving beneficial outcomes.
He said this while addressing the business community during his visit to Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry. Lt Gen (Retd) Muhammad Afzal, former chairman of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), also accompanied him.
The lord mayor said that after Brexit, the UK was interested in promoting trade relations with various countries including Pakistan. He said that Birmingham was the 2nd largest city of the UK with a GDP equal to that of Portugal, which showed its economic potential for Pakistan.
He said that a strong Pakistani community of around 0.3 million people was living in Birmingham who could play a role in strengthening Pak-UK trade relations. He said that construction was a booming industry in Birmingham, which offered good scope of cooperation to Pakistan.
He assured that he would encourage close cooperation of ICCI with Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce (GBCC) for improving business linkages between the private sectors of both countries.
Lt Gen (retd) Muhammad Afzal said that Pakistan’s IT sector as the potential to enhance IT exports from US$ 100 to 200 billion, which should be realized to improve the financial and economic sovereignty of the country.
He stressed that the business community should develop its strong internal systems for sustainable growth instead of looking towards the public sector. He also shared his experiences of developing financial models to support CPEC and develop FWO into a strong business entity.
Speaking at the occasion, ICCI President Muhammad Shakeel Munir appreciated the services of Lord Mayor of Birmingham Councillor Muhammad Afzal for the Pakistani community and Pakistan. He said that Pakistan offered great opportunities to foreign investors in CPEC and in many other sectors of its economy and emphasized that the lord mayor should encourage investors from the UK to explore JVs and investment in Pakistan.
He also lauded the services of Lt. Gen. (R) Muhammad Afzal former Chairman NDMA and said that ICCI would like to take benefit from his experiences for promoting SMEs.
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