ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan launched Pak-China Business Investment Forum on Monday to promote business-to-business (B2B) cooperation, saying the government has been taking steps to remove hurdles in the process of investment.
Addressing the inaugural ceremony, the prime minister said that investors are being fully facilitated in Pakistan, as the country’s development is linked with industrial development and promotion of exports.
The prime minister said that wealth creation of a country is impossible without industrial development while exports increase supplements such efforts. He opined that in Pakistan, focus on industrialisation had never been made a priority in the past. He regretted that during the 60s, Pakistan was moving towards industrialisation but a nationalisation process choked the progress.
He said that different small countries in the world have increased their export capacities. He said the government has provided incentives to the IT sector and within two years, its exports have been doubled.
Referring to China and Turkey, the prime minister observed that they made strides by enhancing their industrial and export capabilities. Turkey overcame its trade deficit with an increase in exports which also raised its GDP, he added.
He expressed the confidence that the establishment of the forum will enhance ease of doing business between the Chinese and Pakistani companies. Terming the launch of the forum as a special occasion, he said it will help the government get feedback over investment and trade issues and overcome the bottlenecks with provision of incentives.
He observed that the investment process is time-consuming whereas time is precious for an investor.
The prime minister assured that the government and the Board of Investment are making full efforts to eliminate the blockages in this process and facilitate Chinese investment.
The prime minister expressed the confidence that there would be more focus on agriculture productivity in the second phase of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). He also stressed that they would have to learn from Chinese urban planning. He said the rapid urbanisation brought with it two issues concerning the food security and environmental pollution and cited cities of Islamabad and Lahore where population has surged manifold.
Speaking on the occasion, Chinese Ambassador Nong Rong said that CPEC will be a game-changer for Pakistan, bringing unprecedented progress and prosperity to the country.
He said that the second phase of CPEC would focus on industrial and social cooperation. Through this forum Pakistani and Chinese companies would have enhanced bilateral cooperation and relations, the ambassador said. He said that with the innovative forum, more business opportunities between the two countries will emerge.
He said that various development projects under CPEC projects are underway including special economic zones and Gwadar free zone. The ambassador said the Chinese side is working closely with the Pakistani side to achieve the shared targets aimed at building future cooperation.
Pak-China Business Investment Forum is formed in collaboration with Pakistan Board of Investment (BOI) and All Pakistan Chinese Enterprises Association with the objectives to promote investment by the Chinese companies in Pakistan and enhance business to business industrial cooperation.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed the government’s spokespersons and ministers to counter the “fake narrative” of opposition parties targeting the recently-tabled finance bill.
The prime minister presided over a meeting of the spokespersons on Monday, which was attended by the PTI leaders and cabinet members.
Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin briefed the participants on the Finance (Supplementary) Bill 2021 or the “mini-budget,” which was introduced in the National Assembly last week.
While instructing the government’s spokesperson to remove the public’s confusion over the mini-budget, the premier expressed displeasure that the details of the finance bill could not be communicated to the public effectively.
He said that the opposition is exaggerating figures in the mini-budget, which according to him, will only burden the common man by Rs2 billion. The premier said the confusion surrounding the rebates and refund of taxes must be removed.
The prime minister said the public should be made aware of the documented economy which he said is in the country’s interest. He further directed the spokespersons to highlight other achievements of the government on the economic front such as robust growth in the agriculture sector, growing exports and others.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that the agriculture sector will be revolutionised with the introduction of better mechanisation tools and information and communications technology-enabled extension services.
The prime minister remarked this while chairing a meeting on the Agriculture Transformation Plan on Monday.
The prime minister said that olive cultivation and shrimp farming on a commercial scale are the needs of the hour to ensure food security in the country. It will also help in improving exports, he added.
The prime minister reiterated that the launch of Kisan Card will facilitate farmers to buy machinery and agriculture inputs. He directed the authorities concerned to establish centres of excellence in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for research in major crops like cotton, wheat and rice.
He also directed to set up calf-raising centres and introduce better artificial insemination techniques for the growth of livestock and the improvement of milk production in the country. He directed all the provincial chief secretaries to take effective steps for the availability of urea by putting a check on its illegal transportation to neighbouring countries, especially Afghanistan.
The prime minister was informed that administrative steps are being taken against individuals involved in creating artificial shortage of urea.
The meeting was attended by Industries Minister Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, Minister for National Food Security Syed Fakhar Imam, Planning Minister Asad Umar, SAPM on Political Communication Dr Shehbaz Gill, Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Quddus Bizengo and senior officers concerned. Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar and Chief Minister KP Mahmood Khan joined the meeting via video link. – TLTP