Pakistan's president Pervez Musharraf calls on Kuwaitis to invest in his country

Pakistan's president called on Kuwaitis Sunday to invest in his country, especially in its energy sector, and urged an improvement in economic ties between the nations.

Gen. Pervez Musharraf, on a six-day Middle East trip, said Pakistan's energy demands are growing fast and his government has to "take action now to ensure we don't fall short" of future needs.

He told businessmen at Kuwait's Chamber of Commerce and Industry that he was "looking in a big way" for investments in hydroelectricity, oil refineries and even wind energy.

Musharraf arrived in this small oil-rich state Saturday, the first stop on a Middle East visit that includes Yemen and Saudi Arabia, where he will attend a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Conference which opens Wednesday.

The president lamented that trade was very low with Kuwait and said economic ties need to become as good as political ties between the two countries. "There is tremendous scope for enhancing trade," he told businessmen.

Kuwait imports textiles and sportswear from Pakistan, but the country has much more to offer, including surgical instruments and furniture, Musharraf told the investors. He said other areas in need of foreign investment were food processing, fisheries and construction.

He reminded the investors that political stability was at its highest in decades, law and order were "reasonably good" and the government was privatizing and liberalizing the economy. The profitability of foreign investors in Pakistan was 20 to 60 percent last year, he said.

He added that the purchasing power of Pakistanis has increased and the country's labor was "the cheapest in the world," at 36 U.S. cents an hour, reported AP. P.T.

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