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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has directed Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Finance Secretary Imdad Ullah Bosal to frame different modalities for investments including structuring of Wealth Fund.

These directions were issued during the first meeting of the Apex Committee of Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) on July 5, 2023.

The first meeting of Apex Committee of the Special Investment Facilitation Council was held under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister at the Prime Minister Office, on July 5, 2023 which was attended by members of the Apex Committee.

PM for increasing FDI to $5bn through SIFC

The Prime Minister, in opening remarks, highlighted his expectation that the forum would serve as a top decision-making body to push through investments in IT, agriculture, energy, minerals and mining, and defence sectors. He appreciated that the participation of federal and provincial governments demonstrates national commitment and ‘whole of government’ approach to revive the economy despite challenges.

The PM pointed out that attracting FDI in the priority sectors would create jobs and open up new avenues of progress; and added that IMF Stand-By Arrangement has been secured, which is a ‘breather’ but also a ‘moment of concern’. All national institutions must make concerted efforts to rid the country of loans and put it on the course to prosperity, he urged.

With permission of the chair, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Government Effectiveness (SAPM-GE) presented the agenda of the meeting - status of the establishment of the Council Secretariat and approval of Work Plan in Agriculture, IT and Mineral Sectors. The first presentation was made by the DG (Pakistan Amy) SIFC who provided an update on progress on housing of SIFC Secretariat, posting of Resident Officers, and Work Plan for seminars/inaugurals.

The following activities were planned during July and August 2023: (i) inauguration of the Land Information Management System on July 7, 2023, at Chaklala by the Prime Minister (already done); (ii) seminar on Agriculture on July 10, 2023, at Jinnah Convention Centre; (iii) seminar regarding un-tapping that potential of IT sector and inauguration of the National Aerospace Park on July 20, 2023;(iv) seminar on Enhancing Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the Minerals and Mining Sector on July 31/August 01, 2023;(v) visit by the Prime Minister to Khanewal Modern Agri Farms on July 24, 2023; and (vi) signing MoUs and Site Visit for Mining on August 03, 2023.

According to sources, concerned representatives of Pakistan Army, thereafter, provided details of the activities planned in Agriculture, Information Technology and Mineral and Mining Sectors.

A presentation on the Land Information & Management System (LI&MS) was also made.

Secretaries of relevant ministries were entrusted the responsibility of coordinating with their counterpart coordinators from Pakistan Army. They would set up substantive agendas for respective seminars and ensure that the objectives and outcomes of each seminar were clearly defined. The meeting was updated on the potential visit of high-level delegation from KSA.

Participants of the meeting provided useful inputs on measures required to tap the potential of the three sectors.

The PM took the following decisions, progress of which would be reviewed in next meeting: (i) The update regarding Communication Strategy. prepared by Minister for Information & Broadcasting, was noted. The Strategy will be launched to reach all international/national stakeholders through various mediums.

Marketing/branding of the initiative would be done and online portal developed. A Public Communication Unit would be setup as an integral part of the SIFC Secretariat. Minister Information & Broadcasting would be a permanent member of SIFC.

Minister Law & Justice would be a permanent member of SIFC;(ii) Secretary Ministry of National Food Security & Research, in consultation with provincial governments and counterpart coordinators, from Pakistan Army would present a plan on dissemination of timely Information/advice from LI&MS to the farmers through the outreach/extension services.

The current situation of extension services and measures for enhancing role of private service providers would also be presented; (iii) Secretary Ministry of National Food Security & Research, in consultation with counterpart coordinators from Pakistan Army, would present various investment models through Public Private Partnership mode in the agriculture sector; (iv) Secretary Ministry of IT &Telecommunication, in consultation with sector leaders/experts and counterpart coordinators from Pakistan Army would prepare a report on policy & legal environment necessary for foreign investment in IT sector, including but not limited to Data Protection law, Cloud policies, WTO Information Technology Agreement, Intellectual Property law, Cyber security law etc; (v) Secretary Ministry of IT & Telecommunication, in consultation with counterpart coordinators from Pakistan, Army would prepare a plan for attracting private investment to enhance internet bandwidth, speed and teledensity.

Similar exercise would also be undertaken to assess potential of private investment in communication satellites, in coordination with SUPARCO; (vi) Minister of State for Petroleum, in consultation with provincial governments and counterpart coordinators from Pakistan Amy, would present a paper on current legal and policy regime in the mineral & mining sector of Pakistan, with particular reference to regulatory framework, bankable leasing, worker’s safety and environmental restoration.

The changes required for foreign investments would be identified; and (vii) Secretary Interior would present report on measures being taken to facilitate visas for travel to Pakistan, especially for businesses/investments.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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