Pakistan is in dire need of maximum Special Economic Zones to get rid of economic challenges being faced by the country since decades: Speakers

Lahore, August 24, 2015 (PPI-OT): Pakistan is in dire need of maximum Special Economic Zones to get rid of the economic challenges being faced by the country since decades. These Special Economic Zones will strengthen the industrial base, will put economy back on the rails besides protecting the national economy from global financial recessions and enable the government to utilize its resources at the targeted industrial areas.

This was upshot of the speeches delivered at a seminar on “Special Economic Zones” here at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Monday. The seminar was jointly organized by the Lahore Chamber and Board of Investment. The LCCI President Ijaz A. Mumtaz, Senior Vice President Mian Nauman Kabir, Secretary Board of Investment Syed Iftikhar Hussain Babar, Chairman Punjab Board of Investment and Trade (PBIT) Abdul Basit, Additional Secretary BOI Raania Ahsan and spoke on the occasion and shared their experiences with the participants of the seminar.

The LCCI President Ijaz A. Mumtaz said that special economic zones are the urgent need of the hour. He said that Pakistan is losing the process of industrialization on consistent basis. “We have to take certain steps to divert investments to industrial sector. There is a dire need to have a specific industrial policy to encourage the private sector representatives to start vigorous industrialization. It will surely help to a great deal in generating employment opportunities, Ijaz A. Mumtaz said.

The LCCI President said that there is no doubt that with the establishment of Special Economic Zones all across the major industrial areas in the country, the present pace of economic development can be enhanced to achieve the desired results.

He said that the direct benefits or incentives promised under SEZ Act are good enough to motivate the investors to show interests. The exemption of customs duties and other taxes for importing capital goods to be installed in these SEZs and all kind of taxes on income for ten years seem attractive and inspiring but government should simultaneously take other important steps.

Ijaz A. Mumtaz said that the organizations like BOI and PBIT should improve the operating environment for private investments. Let’s promote the diversification of industrial production so that new businesses may be introduced in addition to the conventional businesses.

“We cannot attain results without minimizing major constraints and impediments to industrial development. SEZs do have the potential to lead the process of economic development if administrative bottlenecks are overcome in timely manner”, the LCCI President concluded.

Secretary Board of Investment Syed Iftikhar Hussain Babar said that in different countries all over the world, Special Economic Zones have contributed towards national economies. He said that phenomenal growth has been recorded in China, India, Thailand and Malaysia because of Special Economic Zones.

Syed Iftikhar Hussain Babar said that Special Economic Zones are a must to make the country more business friendly. He said that SEZs in Pakistan would not only mainstream marginalize/backward areas but would also create efficient and competitive industrial clusters.

He said that the present regime has adopted the policies of privatization, liberalization and deregulation of economy in Pakistan. Pakistan’s Investment Policy has been formulated to create an investors friendly environment with a focus on further opening up the economy and attract foreign direct investment and provide equal treatment to foreign and local investors.

Secretary BOI said that Board of Investment is making all out efforts to create a steadily improving investment friendly environment in the country. Chairman Punjab Board of Investment and Trade (PBIT) Abdul Basit said that PBIT is easing the way for foreign and local investors looking to harness opportunities presented by Punjab’s fast-growing domestic economy and robust competitive advantages as an export hub.

Abdul Basit said that PBIT is assisting the investors in obtaining all necessary national and provincial approvals/requirements to facilitate a fast-track market entry and also offering post-investment aftercare. Chairman PBIT said that investment in Punjab is being promoted through a well planned strategy. He said that all stakeholders are being taken on board to get their important feedback.

He said that there is a dire need to promote economic vitality by strengthening private sector as internal dynamism has faded away due to various internal and external challenges. He said that Punjab government was addressing all the key issues on priority basis to improve investment scenario.

Abdul Basit said that a number of sectors in Punjab including infrastructure development, coal, energy, agriculture, livestock, textiles and pharmaceutical offer lucrative investment opportunities to the potential investors. He said that a proper marketing strategy would be evolved to promote investment in these sectors of Punjab. Additional Secretary, Board of Investment Dr. Raania Ahsan presented a detailed presentation.

For more information, contact:
Shahid Khalil
Information Department
Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI)
Lahore -54000, Pakistan
Tel: +92-42-111-222-499
Fax: +92-42-6368854