Islamabad: Chairman Board of Investment, Haroon Sharif said that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has helped in the emergence of a new economic geography that could lead to proximity-led development and shared prosperity in the region.
He was speaking to the participants of the International CPEC Workshop organized by the National Defence University here on Friday. Additional Secretary BoI, Muhammad Saleem Ahmad Ranjha, Executive Director General BoI, Fareena Mazhar, Director General CPEC, Syed Hamid Ali and other Officials from BoI were also present on the occasion.
Mr. Sharif remarked that more and more regions are using proximity as a competitive advantage and CPEC is facilitating the proximity-led development. While appreciating the relationship between Pakistan and China, he said that the government wanted CPEC to be a multidimensional initiative to bring foreign direct investment parallel to infrastructure development.
“Private capital is being attracted not only from China but also from UAE, Qatar, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia”, Chairman BoI hailed.
Mr. Sharif said that the complexion of CPEC has transformed to infrastructure, industrial cooperation, agriculture and socio-economic development where the Government of Pakistan was keen to get China’s help in three areas; technology transfer to increase productivity, market access to Pakistani products, and uplift of less developed areas. The Board of Investment being the secretariat for Industrial Cooperation from Pakistan’s side also signed an MoU on industrial cooperation during the 8th JCC with NDRC.
Chairman BoI said that Government of Pakistan is focusing on establishment of prioritized Special Economic Zones (SEZs) under CPEC besides revitalizing existing zones by providing policy support, utilities and reforms in land prices. He said that government is working to enhance efficiency and capabilities of the government institutions to fully facilitate the investors and turn their commitments into transactions.
The process has been fast-tracked by establishing project management units and close coordination with the private sector in order to put their expertise together with the government teams, Mr. Sharif added.
He further said that the reform process has also been initiated in BoI by assigning focal person for investors and establishing a specialized project management unit.
Mr. Haroon Sharif was of the view that development of infrastructure projects and industries have led to visible growth in construction industry. Cheap labor in Pakistan will be the primary attraction for investors to relocate their industry, he added.
He reiterated government stance to work hard for Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) and envisioned significant improvement as Pakistan has already conducted reforms. “The Prime Minister of Pakistan owns the EoDB Reforms Agenda and he is personally overseeing the process”.
He informed regarding the key EoDB reforms undertaken by BoI in the last few months, including complete online company registration in just 4 hours, E-permits facilities, complete online application process for land registration and getting electricity connections, and establishment of E-registry for promoting access to credit.
Ex-Foreign Secretary Mr. Riaz Hussain Khokhar appreciated the efforts of BOI and expressed that the long-standing Pakistan-China friendship is the best relationship that Pakistan has ever had.
Dr. Ayesha Nayyar, BOI, gave a presentation on the updated status of the existing seven Special Economic Zones (SEZs). NT