ISLAMABAD: The recently re-constituted China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Business Council has proposed including more sectors and projects under the umbrella of CPEC.
During the first meeting of the council, which is aimed at creating an interface between the government and business community and to further the industrial cooperation between Pakistan and China to a new height for mutual benefit, it was proposed inclusion of new sectors and projects in CPEC.
It was proposed that petrochemical and its domestic production at competitive prices require the establishment of a petrochemical cracker and it is a best possible option to include this project into CPEC.
According to officials, during the meeting held here on Thursday, it was highlighted that the tourism sector could be promoted by offering incentives and financial support. It was further suggested that one window facilitation for economic zones be made in place under one authority represented by all the concerned ministries to make the country as an investment friendly destination.
Private sector representatives further recommended that RMB transactions should be facilitated for bilateral trade and investment with China. In addition to business visas, facilitation in getting work visas for foreign experts be enhanced.
Furthermore, it was recommended that infrastructure development such as manufacturing of hardware in the IT sector would help to grow, expand, and boost the economy. Pakistani institutes may take advantage of Chinese advancement in the IT sector by ensuring the transfer of technology.
Besides, it was highlighted that Thar, being a place of cheap and sustainable energy resources, could be an obvious choice for big industries such as petrochemical and naphtha crackers.
Industrial Cooperation is a vital part of CPEC, and the government should facilitate the expedite development of infrastructure in SEZs. More joint ventures should be established in SEZs to look for import substitutions and equal benefits offered to international players be extended to domestic investors. Financing for second phase of CPEC be provided by Pakistan side too in the shape of incentives.
The meeting, chaired by Abdul Razak Dawood, Advisor to the Prime Minister for Commerce and Investment, was attended by Minister of State/Chairman, Board of Investment Atif R. Bokhari, Chairman CPEC Authority Asim Saleem Bajwa, Secretary BOI Fareena Mazhar, members of the council and BOI’s officials.
Abdul Razak Dawood said that CPEC is moving to a new direction of industrial and agriculture development which needs a bigger role in the private sector combined with technology companies.
The government would facilitate at the maximum level to ensure the establishment of large-scale manufacturing units and information technology zones under CPEC, he said.
He further highlighted Pakistan’s potential in petrochemical, steel manufacturing and IT sectors, appreciating the recommendations provided by the members for the development of projects in these sectors with the help of Chinese and other potential investors.
Chairman BOI, Aatif R. Bokhari said that the Government is fully committed to ensuring a business-friendly environment by providing competitive incentives to the industry. He informed that efforts are being made to achieve the efficiency in Special Economic Zones (SEZs) by placing one window operation matching with the global practices.
“Rashakai would be a model zone to be established, followed by Dhabeji which is uniquely placed and open for local and foreign investors equally” he added.
He further informed that efforts were made to develop SEZs in service sectors and approval was accorded to IT Zones to facilitate information technology and software development. Electronic vehicle and mobile phones manufacturing policies have been introduced and the same could be adopted for hardware manufacturing with support of the private sector, he stated.