LAHORE: Finland Pakistan Business Council (FPBC) Chairman and Honorary Consulate General of Pakistan in Finland Wille Eerola said Pakistani products have huge potential in the Nordic region, especially in Finland, but unfortunately businesses are unaware of this potential.

In an exclusive interview during his visit to Lahore, Wille said Pakistan needs to start branding the country and develop a positive and recognised image, exactly what the competitors in this global contest for trade and investments are doing. “That is simply necessary to boost business, exports, tourism – basically everything, and it is not happening overnight so the work should be started like tomorrow morning,” he suggested.

Wille, pointing to the non-availability of Pakistani mangoes in Finish and Nordic markets, said he was unable to understand why it was not marketed there while US and Peru mangos, which had less taste were available in this market.

“When I give this example, Pakistani businessmen ask why it is not available there – while same is my question to them,” he said, and added that mangoes are one example; other Pakistani products have huge potential as well.

FPBC chairman said the purchasing power of the region was equal to the purchasing power of the whole Indian population. “Now, one can imagine how huge the market size is,” he added.

Also, Pakistani information and communication technology (ICT) and information technology sector have potential to make a place in the Nordic markets.

“I know many Pakistanis are already working for IT and ICT-related products and services for Finland and other Nordic countries,” he said, and urged to expand and develop a better position.

Pakistani IT and ICT sector human resource is good quality, and can compete with the global human resources in this sector, Wille Eerola said.

Pakistan’s image in the western world was being improved as some positive development stories were coming out of the country. Islamabad should further build on these stories for a positive image.

For example, Pakistan has worked well on the energy issue, but it could do better on green energy which was cheap, clean and environment friendly. Finland could help on the green and clean energy projects in Pakistan, as it was among the leading countries in the use of biomass in energy production, the second highest in the EU after Latvia.

“I don’t know how much waste is generated in Lahore daily, but I believe the waste can contribute a good share of total energy requirement of Lahore and reduce the load from the national grid, besides this will be cleaner and green energy,” Wille said.

Finns have the option to get green energy as well as other energy. “Green energy is relatively costlier there too, but one knows they are contributing to protect environment and Nordic people exactly know how much clean energy they are using when they opt for it,” he added.

The FPBC chairman informed that Finland could also help Pakistan in the education sector. Finland’s education system is acknowledged globally.

“We developed this education system after World War II. In this system, we provide same education to everyone from the age of 7 to 12 years, and after that students decide to adopt further education,” he explained.

Wille said the FPBC has been actively working since over the last three decades to bring businesses to both countries, and was one of the only still operating business council.

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