• Says attracting FDI govt’s top priority, insists SIFC has restored investor confidence
• Iranian envoy meets premier, reaffirms ties between both nations

ISLAMABAD: In a move aimed at revitalising the economy, Prime Min­i­s­ter Shehbaz Sharif has called for the creation of a comprehensive five-year strategy to double the country’s exports.

The ambitious initiative seeks to empower exporters through maximum facilities, leveraging the insi­ghts of successful entrepreneurs and key stakeholders.

During a high-level meeting focu­sed on the export sector, Mr Sharif underscored the importance of a collaborative approach, asking the Min­is­try of Trade to devise the exports strategy in consultation with successful entrepreneurs and stakeholders.

The meeting was attended by ministers Jam Kamal, Rana Tanveer Hussain, and prominent e-commerce entrepreneurs like Utopia Deals CEO Jabran Niaz, Zeeshan Shah, Salman Ahmed and other relevant officials, Prime Minister Office said in a statement.

During the meeting, the prime minister issued directives for facilitating exporters in the e-commerce sector who are exporting the country’s products to the world and are promoting the “Made in Pakistan” brand.

Mr Sharif highlighted the critical role of the IT, domestic goods, textiles, and other key sectors in the export drive, advocating for stakeholder engagement to ensure their maximum contribution.

The meeting was apprised of proposals and recommendations for developing the export sector and the strategy in this regard.

The prime minister underlined the submission of recommendations regarding promoting industries that export items that had been part of the global value chains.

Attracting FDI ‘top priority’

Chairing another meeting to review progress on foreign investment, the prime minister highlighted that promoting foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country to transform challenges into opportunities was a top priority of the government, as per APP.

The meeting reviewed the progress on the memorandums of understanding (MoUs) and agreements with the Gulf countries under the SIFC.

Talking to participants of the meeting, the PM said all possible facilities would be given to the investors and special cells in federal ministries would be established to promote innovation and research in the investment sector.

He directed that a feasibility study should be conducted for such projects that could attract investors and the services of internationally recognised experts should be obtained in this regard.

He emphasised that there should be no compromise on the quality of the projects presented for investment.

The premier also directed all ministries to improve their relations with the Gulf countries regarding the progress on their respective MoUs.

He said all the requirements should be fulfilled concerning the foreign investment in the solar energy projects in Muzaffargarh, Layyah and Jhang.

Mr Sharif stressed the need for conducting a feasibility study for railway connectivity from Reko Diq to Gwadar seaport, adding that work should also be started on the railway line to access the power plants of Thar Coal.

He also directed that steps should be taken regarding foreign investment in the Chiniot Iron project.

The meeting was informed that the dredging work of Gwadar Port had been completed, after which big ships could now be anchored there.

The meeting was told that the Gulf nations were expected to invest in renewable energy, oil refining, mining, food security, banking and financial services, logistics, water supply, and waste management sectors.

Iranian envoy meets PM

In a separate engagement, Iranian Ambassador Reza Amiri Moghadam met with Prime Minister Sharif, reaffirming the deep-rooted and fraternal ties between Iran and Pakistan.

The premier thanked Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi for his congratulatory message and telephone call on his re-election. The premier recalled his meeting with the Iranian president when they jointly inaugurated a border market and an electricity transmission line in May last year. The two leaders also met on the sidelines of the SCO Summit in 2022.

Mr Sharif stressed the need for both sides to work together to enhance trade, energy cooperation, road and rail connectivity, cultural exchanges, counterterrorism efforts and security cooperation.

He appreciated Iran’s support on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir. The situation in Palestine was also discussed.

The Iranian ambassador thanked the prime minister for receiving him and shared an overview of the current state of bilateral relations.

Published in Dawn, April 3rd, 2024

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