CPEC to reposition Pakistan in new economic geography: Haroon Sharif


ISLAMABAD, April 19 (APP):China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has helped in the emergence of a new economic geography that could lead to proximity-led development and shared prosperity in the region, Board of Investment (BoI) Chairman Haroon Sharif Friday said.
He was speaking to the participants of the International CPEC Workshop organized by the National Defence University here.
Sharif remarked that more and more regions are using proximity as a competitive advantage and CPEC is facilitating the proximity-led development.
While appreciating the relationship between Pakistan and China, he said the government wanted CPEC to be a multidimensional initiative to bring foreign direct investment parallel to infrastructure development.
“Private capital is being attracted not only from China but also from United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia”, BoI chairman hailed.
Sharif said the complexion of CPEC has transformed to infrastructure, industrial cooperation, agriculture and socioeconomic development where the government was keen to get China’s help in three areas; technology transfer to increase productivity, market access to Pakistani products, and uplift of less developed areas.
The BoI being the secretariat for industrial cooperation from Pakistan’s side also signed an memorandum of understanding on industrial cooperation during the 8th Joint Coordination Committee with National Development and Reform Commission.
He said the government is focusing on establishment of prioritized Special Economic Zones (SEZs) under CPEC besides revitalizing existing zones by providing policy support, utilities and reforms in land prices.
He said the government is working to enhance efficiency and capabilities of the government institutions to fully facilitate the investors and turn their commitments into transactions.
The process has been fast-tracked by establishing project management units and close coordination with the private sector in order to put their expertise together with the government teams, Haroon Sharif added.
He further said the reform process has also been initiated in BoI by assigning focal person for investors and establishing a specialized project management unit.
He was of the view that development of infrastructure projects and industries have led to visible growth in construction industry.
Cheap labor in Pakistan will be the primary attraction for investors to relocate their industry, he added.
He reiterated government stance to work hard for ease of doing business and envisioned significant improvement as Pakistan has already conducted reforms.
“The prime minister owns the ease of doing business reforms agenda and he is personally overseeing the process,” he added.
He informed regarding the key ease of doing business reforms undertaken by BoI in the last few months, including complete online company registration in just four hours, e-permits facilities, complete online application process for land registration and getting electricity connections, and establishment of e-registry for promoting access to credit.
Ex-Foreign Secretary Riaz Hussain Khokhar appreciated the efforts of BoI and expressed that the long-standing Pakistan-China friendship is the best relationship that Pakistan has ever had.