Lahore, November 26, 2014 (PPI-OT): “Economic and business policies must be provided constitutional cover in order to mitigate the misunderstandings in the corporate community” it was stated by President Pak-China Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Shah Faisal Afridi in meeting with a delegation from World Bank.
The delegation was comprised of Mr. Vincent Palmade, Lead economist, South Asia Region, Mr. Justin Hill, Senior Private sector development specialist at World Bank. Mr. Amjad Bashir, Trade and Competitiveness officer, Ms. Saima Zuberi, Associate operations officer and Mr. Wang Zihai, Chairman of association of Chinese companies in Pakistan was also present in the meeting.
The delegation has arrived at Pakistan with a special purpose to discuss and update the proposals for the improvement of private special economic zones by overcoming social and political constraints to fulfill the needs of investment up to its optimal level.
Members of the delegation, while exchanging their view with Mr. Shah Faisal Afridi, discussed the prospects of business opportunities under the umbrella of special economic zones and at the same time they showed concerns regarding security matters related to power shortages, land procurement including documentation and legal issues that are faced by foreign investors in Pakistan.
Responding to the queries raised by the delegates, Mr. Faisal Afridi said, “Government has established numerous organizations such as PBIT and BOI for providing guidance to the local and foreign investors, moreover Punjab business and economic council PBEC is made especially to bridge the gap between private and government sectors, such organizations and institutes are designed to build an integrated business environment”.
Faisal Afridi told that Haier Ruba Special Economic zone was initiated in 2006 with his struggle in collaboration of Chinese investors, which became pioneer in introducing the idea of one window optimized operation; that was highly appreciated both by government and private sector.
“Despite all odds the idea flourished showing that Pakistan can provide suitable environment to sustain special economic zones, Afridi said elaborating that at present there are 11 successful companies, which are working under the umbrella of this Special Economic Zone (SEZ) and despite all challenges, the companies have shown remarkable growth in just a period of 8 years.
“The zone is currently providing employment to about 11,000 people, besides empowering SME’s by providing the financial assistance and skill development trainings”, said Afridi .
Faisal Afridi asserted that World Bank should convince government of Pakistan to take concrete measures for overcoming trust deficit. He said that international business communities should be made aware of the abundant prospects of business available in Pakistan and at the same time policies and legal framework should be envisaged by government to control the risk factor.
The delegates inquired from Mr. Wang Zihai, the benefits Chinese getting from investments in Pakistan, Mr. Wang said that China being an Iron Friend of Pakistan is ready to compromise with the social and political odds.
“Regarding cost efficient labour market Pakistan has always been a preferred country for China and both nations are strengthening their relations by entering into good terms of trade through FTA’s, Currency swap agreements that are enhancing the mutual trust and confidence” added Mr. Wang. Moreover China, believes that, Pakistan has a vast potential for business and as the economy would take its track, the issues would be vanished consequently, said Mr. Wang.
Mr. Vincent Palmade, Lead economist at World Bank, South Asia Region, who was leading the delegation, said that his bank desired to extend full cooperation and support for empowerment of the special economic zones in Pakistan. We have collected the initial information and would revisit soon with some practical proposal, he added.
For more information, contact:
Wardah Ali Gohar
Pakistan China Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCJCCI)
Mega Tower, 309 – 6th Floor,
Main Boulevard, Gulberg II,
Lahore, Punjab – Pakistan
Tel: +92-42-35777460-02, +92-42-37032203, +92-42-35874353