ISLAMABAD : President SAARC Chamber Ruwan Edirisinghe Tuesday said that now we can utilize the capacious SAARC chamber headquarter building after completion in Islamabad for launching pad of optimal utilization of the region’s natural resources, building regional infrastructure, creating connectivity within the region and with the world — with energy grids, cross-border transport networks, coastal shipping, air links, roads, railways and waterways, besides flood and other natural disaster mitigation and prevention measures.
Chairing a high level meeting of the building committee here Ruwan said it
can implement trade facilitation measures, thereby lowering transaction
costs and generating greater regional investment and employment. He said
that a state-of-the -art 10-storey building of chamber headquarters costing
over rupees one billion which is in final stage of completion will be a
symbol of unity, peace, beacon of prosperity, progress, an effective
catalyst for SAARC’s rescue and resuscitation besides inculcating the
spirit of trust with its neighbours, showing solidarity, and forging with
them a perpetual co-operation. It will also provide a platform to
communities of the region for coming together and discussing the prospects
of doing business together.
He said it is the top priority of the SAARC chamber agenda that all due
efforts would be initiated to forge good relations with all SAARC member
states and for this, we have to commit to and accelerate our efforts
towards forging closer bilateral and regional partnerships and economic
integration within the subcontinent and beyond. He is much sanguine about
the future of the SAARC chamber and said we will have to underwrite the
creation of regional public goods for South Asians to integrate sitting
here from chamber permanent headquarter.
Mr Ruwan said South Asian cooperation faces multiple challenges as this
constitutes the world’s second least developed region after Sub-Saharan
Africa and its per capita GDP, in terms of purchasing power parity, is
three times below the global average while it has more poor people than the
rest of the world.Despite this, he said, SAARC region holds immense trade
and investment potential and to actualize that potential special focus and
effort is required for regional integration. He said SAARC member countries
should focus on removal of non-tariff barriers (NTBs) and must work for
enhancing B2B interaction to boost trade.
Earlier, Chairman Building Committee SVP SAARC chamber Iftikhar Ali Malik
apprising the participants about the progress said that 95 per cent
structure of the building has been completed under the supervision of high
profile internationally accredited architects and designers.