Islamabad, March 17, 2017: Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms, Ahsan Iqbal has rejected the propaganda that only Chinese companies can invest in special economic zones under China Pakistan Economic Corridor. Minister Iqbal noted that no special incentives are given to foreign companies and organizations for operations in Pakistan to ensure the protection of domestic industries.
Speaking on an adjournment motion in the Senate, moved by Senator Ateeq Sheikh and to media, the minister said: "A working group has been established in regards to setting up of economic zones under CPEC, established working group will take on board all relevant stakeholders in the process of finalising a business model and developing a framework for investment in the special economic zones. Minister Iqbal further explained that the working group is consulting in detail the officials of all relevant line ministries, provincial governments and Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry to ensure smooth functioning of special economic zones to be setup in the mid to long-term phase of CPEC.
Minister Iqbal categorically mentioned that Government is ensuring at all levels that no policy is initiated which may hamper the local industry and unfairly favours the foreign investors.
Minister Iqbal stated that all policies are directed to create a favourable eco-system for domestic and foreign investors to ensure strengthening of Pakistan's economy.
Ahsan Iqbal said numerous campaigns and propaganda are surfacing to sabotage CPEC, Minister, discouraged all such noises because the project is meant for lifting the geo-economic landscape of Pakistan. Government is actively engaging with all sects of the society to address the apprehensions of provinces and the business community.
Minister mentioned that the 6th meeting of Joint Cooperation Committee, held on December 29, 2017 in China, was attended by the Chief Minister from all the provinces.
“This meeting allayed all the apprehensions of the federating unite and everybody agreed with the priorities of the project for country’s progress, said Ahsan Iqbal.
He said that negative noises conspiring to create fears amongst the local industrialist are not doing any service to development process of Pakistan.
“Government would foil all these conspiracies” vowed Ahsan Iqbal.
The minister said it is imperative to attract maximum foreign investment and since Chinese industry is being relocated to other Asian nations, Pakistan would like to benefit the most from the relocation policy or Chinese businesses.
"It was decided in principal to establish the special economic zone under the umbrella of CPEC”, stated Ahsan Iqbal.
Minister said that industrial cooperation is the 4th pillar of China-Pakistan economic corridor initiative. Minister Iqbal was hopeful that this cooperation will boost the local industries by enhancing its productivity. “The relocation of Chinese industry would lead to creation of large number of jobs for the local population” said Ahsan Iqbal.
He said investment and technology coming to Pakistan under CPEC would enable local industrialists to benefit from the latest technologies as well as expertise of Chinese.
On this the member did not press his adjournment motion and it was disposed of.