Minister for Planning and Development, and Interior Ahsan Iqbal on Wednesday called upon the private sector investment and business community to play a leading role in materializing the phase of Industrial Cooperation under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Chairing a meeting on exploring business opportunities under CPEC, the minister said the private sector of Pakistan has to play the role of an engine of growth in CPEC and attract foreign investors from across the globe and seek Joint Ventures through multiple opportunities unleashed by CPEC.
He urged the chambers to proactively persuade the business community across the country to capitalize on the business opportunities under CPEC adding that infrastructural improvement will encourage greenfield industrial set-ups, with focus on value additive industries that will provide real platform for competitive trade in global economy.
The meeting was attended by presidents of all major Chambers of Commerce & Industry from across Pakistan including President Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Zubair Tufail.
He said industrial cooperation will feature prominently in the agenda of 7th Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) scheduled to be held here on November 21.
Mr Iqbal said that this meeting aimed at taking the chambers and business community on board in order to incorporate their viewpoint and ensure a broad consensus with respect to development of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) prior 7th JCC; informing that President FPCCI will be specially invited in the upcoming JCC to represent all chambers and business community.
He further added that the task of government was to develop a policy framework while the development and investment in CPEC SEZs has to be done by private sector and local business community.
Addressing the participants, Ahsan Iqbal told that Pakistan of today is different from that of 2013 when economy was badly deteriorated, local industries were almost non-existent and 18-20 hour load-shedding was order of the day.
He said that CPEC has enabled Pakistan to overcome critical bottlenecks of energy and transport infrastructure, and the stage is set for Pakistan to enter the phase of Industrial Cooperation.
He further added that China serves a best example and success story of SEZs that have transformed their economy in a short time span. CPEC therefore provides best opportunity for our business community to learn Chinese experience, seek joint ventures with Chinese companies and enable transfer of top-notch technology to the country.
He stressed on the business community to improve on the competitiveness and ensure Product Quality Innovation factor in the products adding that value-addition be ensured in the products being produced. He said that business community should work closely with Provincial and Federal Governments and streamline development of economic clusters in order to ensure global competitiveness and link-up with regional supply chains.
He also asked them to focus on R&D activities for enabling business to business (B2B) linkages and development of high tech service industry.
Zubair Tufail, also addressed the meeting and deeply appreciated government’s efforts towards boosting industrial cooperation and development of SEZs in thorough consultation with the business community and chambers. He told that Chinese companies are keenly interested in exploring business options with Pakistan’s business community and asked the provincial chambers to develop a contact mechanism for materializing linkages with Chinese businesses.
During the meeting, Coordinator /Dy. Project Director CPEC Hassan Daud briefed the participants on ongoing projects under CPEC portfolio while Director CPEC Board of Investment Abdul Samie gave briefing on SEZs and incentive package being offered to foreign and local investors for development of Industrial Parks and SEZs.