ISLAMABAD: A French delegation visiting Pakistan has expressed keen interest in investing in the country’s tourism sector, particularly in setting up ski resorts in Gilgit-Baltistan region.

The French delegation, led by Honorary Investment Counselor in France Federico Juan Thomas Espana, held a meeting with secretary of the Board of Investment (BoI) Fareena Mazhar here on Tuesday to explore areas of investment in the tourism sector.

In order to facilitate the French delegation, the BoI, in coordination with the Gilgit-Baltistan government, has organised the delegation’s visit to Ghizer, Phandar, Astore, Nagar and Skardu districts.

Upon their return from Gilgit-Baltistan, the delegation will also meet representatives of the Ministry of Information Iechnology and National Incubation Centre to discuss the areas of mutual cooperation.

The BoI says the French team’s visit is the outcome of a Zoom meeting held last month between the BoI secretary and the honorary investment counselor.

During the interaction, the BoI secretary informed the French delegation that the board had signed a memorandum of understanding with Business France on investment cooperation and facilitation, exchange of information and knowledge sharing.

As a follow-up, various webinars were held and detailed presentations on investment opportunities, incentives and policies were delivered by the BoI. However, there is a dire need to enhance investment cooperation and coordination between the two investment promotion agencies, she added.

Ms Mazhar informed the delegation about the new investment strategy 2020-23 which has been launched recently to attract foreign investment in different sectors of the economy.

She said the strategy provided a comprehensive investment cycle consisting of policy advocacy, market research, investment facilitation, promotion, protection, investors tracking, sector scanning and after-care services to investors and projects.

Ms Mazhar also informed the French investors about the 22 special economic zones (SEZs) and invited the French companies to set up their businesses in the already established SEZs or opt for establishing an exclusive SEZ for the French companies.

She said that in order to facilitate foreign investors in Pakistan, the BoI had developed an online database of 120 projects available with the federal and provincial governments worth $60 billion.

The BoI has also developed an incentive database where investors can see the complete set of incentives being offered to any specific sector.

“Investors have been asked to visit the BoI website which is user-friendly, interactive and holds comprehensive and updated information for investors,” Ms Mazhar said.

Published in Dawn, October 27th, 2021

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