Multinationals remit $332 million from Pakistan

KARACHI (May 23 2003) : Profits repatriated from Pakistan last year were more than four times higher than the previous year, a strong indication of a dramatic turnaround of the economy, officials said on Thursday.

Fifty-one multinationals sent a total of more than $332 million in profits abroad in 2002, compared to around $80 million remitted by 27 companies in 2001, according to central bank figures.

A finance ministry official said the bulk of the profits were in the energy sector. Hub Power Co remitted around $101 million to its foreign shareholders, including Britain's International Power, which has a stake of about 26 percent in the company.

Another firm, Kot Addu Power Co, sent around $73 million abroad to share holders, who include International Power with a 36 percent stake.

The energy sector firms were followed by foreign banks, which transferred around $35 million IN profits, and consumer goods companies, which sent $15 million abroad.

Finance ministry spokesman Ashfaq Hasan Khan said the sharp rise in remittances showed the economy was improving, and the government's confidence in its external balance of payments.

“We are happy that they are making profits in Pakistan,” he said, “Foreign investors are most welcome to remit their profits under the law. They face no problem or bar.”

Amer Siddiqui, executive vice president of the state-run National Bank of Pakistan, said the flow of foreign exchange into the country had never been so high.

“Pakistan can tolerate much higher outflows of remittances by foreign investors as per government policy given high levels of reserves and foreign inflows,” he said.

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