Govt plans major initiatives to lure investments: adviser

May 30, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Government has planned major policy initiatives in the upcoming budget to attract local and foreign investments in the country, commerce adviser said on Friday.Advisor to Prime Minister...

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ISLAMABAD: Government has planned major policy initiatives in the upcoming budget to attract local and foreign investments in the country, commerce adviser said on Friday.

Advisor to Prime Minister on Commerce and Investment Razak Dawood said the government is taking care of the core export sectors and facilitating the emerging sectors.

“Diversification, economies of scales, competitiveness, technology up-gradation, tariff rationalisation and encouraging domestic and international investment is the focus of this government and the industry would see major policy initiatives in the upcoming budget,” Dawood said, addressing a think tank on COVID-19.

The adviser said the virus brought a change in the world and badly affected the economy. “The situation is also an opportunity to reshape the business models,” he said. “There is a need to be innovative, both domestically and internationally, to explore the opportunities. This is imperative to not only sustain our share in traditional markets and products but also to explore new avenues especially in services sectors.”

The adviser said the country needs innovative approaches for rapid growth by increasing share in international as well as domestic markets.

The think tank comprises secretary commerce, additional secretary (trade diplomacy), director general (textiles) and leading industrialists from various sectors.

Meanwhile, Dawood told APP the government is focused on measures to facilitate local and foreign investments in the country and bag 20 notches improvement in the upcoming World Bank’s ease of doing business index.

”Pakistan had an unprecedented improvement in the ranking last year and we want to continue the momentum and build on our success in coming years,” he said.

The adviser said the government is focusing on all 10 indicators measured by the World Bank Index annual report. Seventy four reform actions relating to these business indicators have been completed and taken up with the World Bank’s team for their consideration. End-to-end integration of nine departments has been made and waiving off the fee by labor department Sindh would also reduce cost for businesses to be operated in Sindh.

Punjab already waived off labour fee last year and similarly omission of provisions regarding company’s common seal would lead to reduction in one procedure and associated time. The data is centralised for labor department, Punjab and Sindh employees’ social security institutes, and employees old-age benefits institute in real time.

National Electric Power Regulatory Authority revised the consumer service manual for ease of getting commercial connections and turnaround time for new connections has been reduced from 106 to 58 days.

The industry representatives acknowledged the steps taken by the government in the last one and half year which started paying the dividends before the disruption created by the COVID-19 crisis. They said the facilitation measures for decreasing the cost of doing business should be accompanied with steps to address the liquidity issues of the industry, especially the export sector. The industry representatives appreciated the briefing on steps taken by the government to encourage local production. This would arrest deindustrialisation and bring new investments especially from the local players, they said.

The businessmen shared innovative ideas to encourage domestic manufacturing. They highlighted various tariff anomalies in different sectors. The credit availability schemes to further facilitate the export sectors and the non-traditional sectors were also discussed. The industry representatives vowed to come up more proposals within a week after consulting stakeholders in different sectors.

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