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Incentivizing industrialization in SEZs top priority: PM Imran Khan

By Staff Reporter | APP Feb 12, 2022

ISLAMABAD, Feb 10 (APP): Prime Minister Imran Khan Thursday said that it was among the government’s priorities to incentivize the rapid industrialization in the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) through massive investment.

The prime minister, chairing a meeting on SEZs Facilitation Model and Regulatory Guillotine for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) under PM’s Priority Sector Progress Review, said the government was focused on attracting maximum foreign direct investment (DFI) in the country.

Earlier, the prime minister was apprised that 112 out of 167 reforms identified by the Board of Investment (BOI) had been implemented to ensure ease of doing business for all potential investors in SEZs. The remaining 55 reforms will also sail through necessary regulatory approvals within a month, it was told.

The prime minister was informed that all chambers of commerce and industries and trade associations across Pakistan had thanked the prime minister for his government’s remarkable reforms for the facilitation of investors.

They especially mentioned the ease in the company registration process by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan and the proposed Asaan Karobaar Portal initiative of the BOI in this regard. It is because of these historic steps that Pakistan has recently witnessed a 37% improvement in the Business Confidence Index.

The prime minister directed all the regulatory authorities including the State Bank of Pakistan, Federal Board of Revenue and Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan to streamline their respective regulatory frameworks to enable the investors get their issues resolved under one roof in the shortest possible time.

He also directed them to facilitate the growth of SMEs sector which contributed around 25% of total exports.

He directed the relevant authorities to immediately resolve all pending issues of the SME sector related to export refinancing facility, payment of Duty Drawback on Local Taxes and Levies, and financing from banks to address their liquidity crunch.

Moreover, he directed them to notify five-year export policies for all major sectors, especially the textile and SMEs in order to lend certainty to the exporters.

The prime minister was briefed that the board of Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) was being revamped along with the creation of Rs. 30 billion SMEDA Fund for the promotion of this important sector of the economy.

The meeting was attended by Energy Minister Hammad Azhar, Finance Minister Shaukat Fayyaz Tarin, Industries Minister Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, Law Minister Dr Farogh Naseem, Planning Minister Asad Umar, Advisor on Commerce Abdul Razzak Dawood, SAPM on Political Communication Dr Shehbaz Gill, SAPM on CPEC Affairs Khalid Mansoor, Chairman BOI Azfar Ahsan, Governor State Bank Dr Reza Baqir, Chairman FBR Dr Muhammad Ashfaq Ahmed and other relevant senior officers.

The provincial chief secretaries joined the meeting via video link.

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