Diplomatic missions urged to ‘brief, encourage’ their countries to invest in Pakistan

Published September 1, 2023
A briefing session of the SIFC was held in Islamabad on Friday, which was attended by diplomatic missions. — Radio Pakistan
A briefing session of the SIFC was held in Islamabad on Friday, which was attended by diplomatic missions. — Radio Pakistan

Diplomatic missions in Islamabad were urged on Friday to “brief and encourage their countries” to profit from Pakistan’s rich resources in a bid to attract foreign investment to the country, the Foreign Office (FO) said.

The development comes days after caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar directed the relevant authorities to accelerate the realisation of identified Special Investment Facili­tation Council (SIFC) projects.

The SIFC was formed in June this year by the previous PML-N-led government to “frame economic policies that “ensure policy predictability, continuity and effective implementation to revive the economy”.

Then premier Shehbaz Sharif had said that a key goal of the body was to attract investment from friendly countries. “The immediate task is to increase FDI (foreign direct investment) to $5 billion,” he had said.

Subsequently, in July, the previous cabinet had approved a number of initiatives, including proposed legislation for amendments to the Investment Board Ordi­nan­ce to em­power the SIFC to facilitate foreign investments.

Today, a briefing session — convened by Foreign Secretary Syrus Sajjad Qazi — on the SIFC was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) for the resident diplomatic missions in Islamabad.

According to a press release issued by the FO, “The participating diplomatic missions were requested to brief and encourage their countries to profit from the promise of Pakistan being a resource-rich country.”

During the meeting, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Government Effectiveness Dr Jehanzeb Khan made a “detailed presentation informing the diplomatic corps on the establishment and various aspects of the council”.

The FO stated that the premier’s special aide “particularly highlighted investment opportunities in Pakistan in four key areas”: information technology, agriculture, energy and mining.

The statement recalled that the SIFC had been recently constituted to “serve as a ‘One-Window’ platform to fast-track decision-making and promote as well as facilitate Foreign Direct Investment in the country”.

It added that the briefing was also attended by senior MoFA officials.

SIFC

In June, plagued by economic challenges amid an “inordinate” delay in the revival of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme, civilian and military leaders had devised an “economic revival plan” to capitalise on “untapped potential in key sectors” and attract FDI.

The SIFC had been established under the said plan to fast-track the development of projects and act as a “single-window” interface for potential investors.

Shehbaz had said the new forum would serve as a top decision-making body to push through fundamental reforms in the economy’s structure and would focus on “leveraging key sectors such as IT, agriculture, energy, minerals and mining, and defence production”.

He had contended that the need for a representative forum like the SIFC had long been felt because of the scale of economic challenges caused by internal and external factors.

“The textbook approach to deal with a unique set of problems is not workable anymore,” he had said in a social media post.

“Hence, all the more reason to leverage collective wisdom to kick-start the economy to make it self-reliant, export-driven, and robust, capable of withstanding external shocks and upheavals.”

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