ISLAMABAD: Deputy Chairman Planning Commission and Secretary Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC), Jehanzeb Khan Tuesday said international consultants have done the assessment for selling stakes of one of the world’s biggest gold and copper mining in RekoDiq in Balochistan to sign agreement for foreign investment.
“We engaged third party for fair price to sell stakes in RekoDiq of Balochistan. Now, we and our advisors (consultants) will sit with foreign investors for negotiations for agreement. It will be made clean business to business deal. We will not sell the stakes of RekoDiq if it will not be appropriate,” the deputy chairman planning said in an informal talk with a group of journalists at the Prime Minister’s Secretariat on Tuesday.
According to a media report, Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar ul Haq Kakar has already said his government hopes to conclude a deal by December for Saudi Arabia to buy stakes in RekoDiq.
Barrick Gold Corporation is a mining company has own a 50 percent stake in the RekoDiq mine, with Pakistan’s federal government holding a 25 percent share and the regional government in Balochistan, where the reserves are located, owning the rest.
Barrick considers the mine one of the world’s largest underdeveloped copper-gold areas, with the over $7 billion project capable of producing 200,000 tons of copper and 250,000 ounces of gold a year for more than half a century.
Deputy Chairman Planning Jehanzeb Khan said Pakistan had faced loss in the past due to a lack of capacity and consultancy in RekoDiq agreement. It is big investment so there was a need of international consultants and advisors, he said.
The journalists raised serious questions about setting up a parallel institution to the Board of Investment (BoI) and he admitted it saying the SIFC, set up in July would serve as a “one-window operation” to address any concerns of foreign investors.
However, he said that the SIFC would be given the role of monitoring and implementation of investment in the future.
Answering another question, he said that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is satisfied with the work of the SIFC. He said that there is a need to address the bureaucratic red-tape. He said that the one-window opportunity on the platform of SIFC is primarily being designed for this purpose that we need to cut off all these bureaucratic hurdles and rationalise the entire process of allowing and giving permission to any investment from outside within 15 days.
He said that the IMF also raised questions about the hasty sale of institutions, tax incentives and exemptions, transparency in investment and increasing direct taxation.
He said that friendly countries told us that there is an investment potential of $70 billion in Pakistan.
He said about 70 to 80 ambassadors of many countries complained that there is no favourable environment for investment in Pakistan. He said that there are also visa policy issues.
He said reforms in the institutions could not take place due to our negligence. He said that in order to improve the value of the rupee, the exports and foreign investment will have to be increased. He said that there has been a decline in the system of governance in Pakistan. He said that the payments for power plants and Sukkur-Multan Motorway are still pending.
Jehanzeb Khan said there is a need for continuity of economic policy in the country. The continuity of economic policy is a big challenge, he said. He said that there is a need for coordination between central and provincial governments.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023