US envoy asks Pakistan to check corruption

Last Updated: Mon, Dec 06, 2010 18:10 hrs

Islamabad, Dec 6 (IANS) The new US ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron Munter, said Monday the country will not be able to attract foreign investment unless and until it is able to check corruption.

While addressing industry representatives at Karachi Stock Exchange, he said: 'Corruption in government sector can deter foreign investors and their confidence should be restored to attract maximum investment in Pakistan.'

'Corruption in public institutions has caused a loss of over $300 billion and these institutions suffering from bad financial health need to be privatised,' he suggested.

'The rich and the privileged will also have to pay taxes if the financial constraints need to be overcome,' Munter remarked adding that the 'levying of the proposed reformed general sales tax (GST) will also broaden the tax net and increase revenue collection'.

The US envoy also pointed out that several joint initiatives for energy production with the help of US firms were awaiting Pakistan government's approval.

'These include a project worth $375 million for producing 150 MW of electricity,' he said.

Pakistan is facing economic problem after devastation caused by floods and terrorism across the country. The US administration is one of the major foreign donors working with the Pakistani government to avert this crisis in energy, trade and other sectors.