Italy plans to invest in renewable energy projects in Pakistan
Pakistan’s balance of payments with Italy is now favorable by $210 million in the fiscal year 2019-20, improving from a deficit of $164 million in the prior fiscal year, said Pakistan Ambassador to Italy, Jauhar Saleem.
The development comes despite COVID-19 lockdown and travel restrictions around the world.
“The balance of trade is in Pakistan’s favour now. In FY20, Pakistan’s exports to Italy were $731 million and imports stood at $521 million.”
Saleem said that country’s main exports to Italy are leather, textile, rice, and ethanol. Due to its superior quality production, Pakistan is a market leader in rice with a 38% share in the Italian rice market.
The Ambassador also addressed a number of other issues of importance in a press conference conducted through a web link.
Italy is the eighth largest economy in the world with the gross domestic product (GDP) of $2 trillion, the fourth largest in Europe, and the ninth top export destination for Pakistan as it hosts the largest Pakistani diaspora in the in the European Union (EU).
Working Together on Energy
Italy is planning on investing the in Pakistani energy sector. After nearly a decade of serious electricity shortage, Pakistan has started projects for greater energy production in the last few years. Italy plans on making investments in the renewable energy sector with the Italian Embassy facilitating the projects.
“Italy has planned to invest in renewable energy in Pakistan. Pakistan’s embassy in Rome is facilitating these new investment projects.” Saleem also said that Italy is looking to cooperate with Pakistan in general.
Facilitating Pakistani Labor
Pakistani labor was allowed to stay in Italy, even during the lockdown which helped them get back to work as soon as the lockdown was lifted. “This strategy has delivered and with the improving market conditions, Pakistanis are back to work and worker remittances have registered 77% growth in June 2020.”
The Italian government is also temporarily regularizing undocumented immigrants working as domestic help, or in the agriculture sector. Many Pakistanis are also benefitting from the scheme which allows workers health coverage. Pakistani embassy is facilitating the ex-pats with the documentation they need. The Embassy remained operational even during the lockdown, Saleem added.
Italy is currently providing technical assistance in textiles, leather and marble sectors. Pakistan is working with Italian officials to expand it to dairy and livestock, olives and olive products, plastics, processed food and the construction sector.