PM Shehbaz Sharif presents awards to representatives of Chinese companies operating in Pakistan under the CPEC, on Monday.—PPI
PM Shehbaz Sharif presents awards to representatives of Chinese companies operating in Pakistan under the CPEC, on Monday.—PPI

• PM commends council’s efficient approach, praises army chief’s unprecedented contributions
• Assures Chinese investors of simplified procedures under CPEC, emphasises ‘true implementation’

ISLAMABAD: The third apex committee meeting of Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) on Monday approved multiple projects presented by various ministries to attract investments from friendly countries, under the umbrella of the council, in key sectors like agriculture, livestock, mining, minerals, information technology and energy.

The meeting was presided over by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and was attended by Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Syed Asim Munir, chief ministers, federal and provincial ministers and top officials.

According to the Prime Minister Office, the PM appreciated the expeditious operationalisation of SIFC in a short span and its efficient function­ing through a collaborative approach.

The meeting hailed the global imp­act of the ongoing outreach strategy through seminars and project inaugurations; which will be augmented by SIFC’s website, being launched shortly.

The apex committee expressed full support for the successful execution of the upcoming visit by a high-level delegation from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Pakistan through the SIFC platform. The PM directed that this inaugural visit be made a momentous event.

The committee showed resolve for continuous support to the SIFC initiative and urged the interim government to maintain the impetus for a positive contribution.

Chinese investors

Earlier, PM Shehbaz assured the Chi­n­ese investors of further simplifying procedures for companies operating in Pakis­tan, especially under the umbrella of China Pakistan Eco­nomic Corridor (CPEC) and implementing them in letter and spirit.

He assured the Chinese investors that the difficult time for them was now over, saying “We are going to do this under one umbrella as a one window operation, and this I mean in letter and spirit… not just words but true implementation,” he added.

While speaking at an award ceremony, PM Shehbaz said the Chinese government and companies had contributed to Pakistan’s industrial advancement across various sectors and their contributions had not only led to the creation of job opportunities and increased industrial production but also further strengthened the bilateral economic ties.

Earlier the prime minister presented awards to the top performing Chinese companies, especially working in projects under CPEC in Pakistan. He said China had so far invested a valuable $30 billion under CPEC that had really transformed the economic landscape in Pakistan.

“Now we are entering into the second phase of CPEC in which multiple new areas are being incorporated including the green corridor, information technology, and special economic zones.”

The PM said the army chief had per­sonally contributed to SIFC in a way that had no precedent in the past.

“He [COAS] is entirely dedicated to promoting the cause of Pakistan and supporting people who have education and talent but are still jobless,” the PM added.

“The SIFC programme will dovetail with the entire CPEC mechanism and serve as a propeller for Pakistan’s industrial and agricultural progress,” he stated.

Charge d’affaires of the Chinese Em­­b­assy in Pakistan, Pang Chunxue, said that since its launch in 2013, the CPEC, being the pilot project of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiatives, has made remarkable contributions to the socio-economic development of the local people in the country. She said China would always stand firmly with Pakistan and collaborate to coordinate the country’s development and security efforts.

Published in Dawn, August 8th, 2023

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