Rashakai SEZ

PM approves new bilateral investment treaty template

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has approved the new Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) template whereby any dispute will now be remedied through local arbitration, disclosed Board of Investment (BoI) Secretary Fareena Mazhar while talking to a group of journalists on Sunday.

She said the new BIT template has been developed in consultation with all the stakeholders and with the active assistance of law and justice division and the attorney general of Pakistan.

She explained that all the new bilateral investment treaties would be negotiated in accordance with the new template in order to minimise the risk of international arbitration and to provide a policy space to government to enforce economic policies of public interest.

The Board of Investment (BoI) is actively pursuing strategies to create opportunities for $50 billion Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the country by 2023 under its new investment plan, she said, adding that the government had been facing difficulties in finalising investment treaties with some countries due to the Reko Diq case.

“The BOI’s main priority is to attract investment in various sectors from big economies of the world, including United States and China and also to encourage overseas Pakistanis to invest in the country so that they can take advantage of these large investment opportunities,” she added.

The secretary said that investment opportunities would be created in different sectors of the economy including textile, Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), agriculture, agro-industry, automobile sector, logistics and sports.

She said that Chinese companies have brought $ 260 million of investment in Rashakai, Special Economic Zone (SEZ) within the steel sector to enhance the productivity and growth in the local industrial sector.

The Chinese and local companies are ready to go for Joint Ventures and 60 local 13 Chinese companies in different sectors are registered and ready to sign the JVs agreement.

She informed that for achieving the agenda of bringing more Chinese investment in Pakistan, BOI has appointed eight honorary investment counsellors in different potential regions of China.

“We appointed these people from business class and other related experiences and fields will play an essential role to update the Chinese business fraternity about potential Joint Ventures (JVs), other Investment opportunities and the rewarding incentives offered to foreign investors in Pakistan,” Fareena said.

She said that the appointments of these people are part of the government strategy to enhance Pakistan and Chinese investment for the economic growth of the country.

She said that Rashakai, Special Economic Zone (SEZ) would set a new direction for the modern industrialisation in Pakistan and brings huge Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the country.

“Through this milestone in the economic history of the country, the government wants to provide a conducive business environment for bringing FDI in the country,’ she said.

Fareena said that four SEZs, including Rashakai Nowshera , Dhaba , Bostan and Allama Iqbal Industrial City, Faisalabad had also been approved and would be top priority of the government to develop these zones for creating the better business opportunity for foreign investment.

The secretary said that development of Rashakai SEZ had a huge strategic implication, because it is closer to resource rich Central Asian Republics (CARs) and also plays a role for economic integration of the region.

All of these SEZs would have far-reaching socio-economic impact in the region by attracting more investment, spurring industrialization, creating employment in the industry and ensuring export led-growth, she said.

She said that the completion of Rashakai SEZ would promote ease of doing business in the country and would facilitate the local and foreign investors.

Fareena said that Pakistan’s proximity with China would allow these SEZs to foster economic interdependence for mutual economic advantage to enhance the bilateral trade and economic connectivity in coming years.

She said the BOI promoted establishment of these all SEZs with the goals of capitalizing on investment inflow under CPEC, inclusive economic development in the Provinces, creation of job opportunities, industrial development, and export generation in Pakistan.

Replying to another question, she said that Rashakai SEZ held a unique competitive advantage due to its proximity to the first juncture of CPEC route, and significant resource and manufacturing base in the region.

She said that Pakistan acquired the $3 billion FDI in FY21 and the government was committed to bring more foreign investment in the potential sector in FY22.

The secretary said the government had set a target to complete the reforms in BOI, through Pakistan Regulatory Modernization Initiative (PRMI) in district provincial and at country level.

She said that the reform process would be completed in three tiers including mapping, analysis and guillotine to execute the regulation from gross route level to country level.

Replying to a question on BoIs new Investment Promotion Strategy 2021-23, she said that FDI target of Rs3.7 billion by 2021-22 and $4 billion for 2022-23.

She said that according to the new policy strategy, the BOI also aspires to generate a number of new leads tracked in the board’s newly introduced Investment Relation Management System (IRMS) for enhancing the FDI in coming years. She said the investment strategy also includes priority sectors which have been selected through a structured sector scanning process.

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