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November 25, 2020

Pujnab assures Chinese projects of investment protection

Business

November 25, 2020

LAHORE: The provincial Punjab government has assured Chinese investors that it would remove all obstacles in execution of their projects after they deplored undue delays in approving electricity and gas connections during a meeting.

Punjab Minister for Industries, Commerce and Investment Aslam Iqbal directed the authorities to immediately resolve all the issues in the meeting with representatives of Chinese companies. “No obstacle will be tolerated in the investment process,” Iqbal said in a statement and particularly asked officials to address concerns of a Chinese ceramic firm.

The Chinese investor is investing $70 million in the ceramic industry of the province. Oriel Ceramics wants to set up a manufacturing factory in Bhalwal. The company is not getting electricity and gas connections.

The minister said the institutions should provide all possible facilities to domestic and foreign investors. He assured the Chinese investors that their investments are protected in the Punjab. The industries minister said he would take up the issue with the federal government to solve the issues of power and gas problems of industries in the province.

The Chinese investors discussed investment opportunities in the province, but deplored that such an attitude of government authorities would discourage foreign investment, especially from Chinese.

China is leading an unprecedented $60 billion worth of projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) framework under which a network of roads and flyovers and series of power plants have been set up in neighbouring Pakistan.

Over the last seven years, an influx of electricity has been injected into the grid and so much so that the energy-deficit country has surplus power. The noncorresponding transmission system and revenue leakages have, however, distanced the possibility of energy security in the country.

Under the CPEC, the second phase is industrial development and agriculture cooperation. Pakistani government supports development considering that Pakistan has one of the region’s highest infrastructure deficits.

Prime Minister Imran Khan emphasised the mutual benefits of CPEC. Chinese government wants to develop their underdeveloped western provinces under its Belt and Road initiative of which CPEC is an integral part, Khan said in a press briefing last week.

Increasing employment opportunities by accelerating the process of industrialisation is boasted as the first priority of the present government. It is the responsibility of the government to provide facilities to investors.

Domestic cement industry has also faced the same issues and over $7 billion new investment is stuck due to this, according to the industry officials.

Industries minister had a round of meetings with the cement industry officials recently and assured them early redressing of their issues, including issuance of no-objection certificates for setting up of new plants and expansion of existing plants. However, all of these meetings are so far futile for the businessmen, said an official.