The government is planning to extend an incentive package for establishment/relocation of industry from abroad to the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and directions have been issued to the Board of Investment (BoI) to finalize the said package without delay.
Sources told Business Recorder here on Saturday that the decision was taken in the last preparatory meeting of Working Group (Pakistan's side) on Industrial Cooperation under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which was held under the chairmanship of secretary Board of Investment (BoI). The government has finalized the additional incentive package for the prioritized SEZs.
It has been decided that the BoI devise an incentive package for establishment/relocation of industry from abroad into prioritized SEZs and the same was approved by the federal cabinet. The incentive package for prioritized SEZs was shared with the Chinese side. However, after its approval, different reservations were received from the various federating units. It was agreed that BoI should resubmit the incentive package along with reservations expressed by various federating units to the Prime Minister so that appropriate guidance/approval may be solicited from the cabinet accordingly.
The secretary BoI briefed the participants about the importance of the industrial cooperation in the context of CPEC, development of prioritized Special Economic Zones (pSEZs), attracting Chinese state-owned enterprises for investment in Pakistan and constitution of sub-working groups of iron & steel, mines & minerals, petrochemicals and textiles sectors. He emphasized that provinces should play a proactive role for the early materialization of pSEZs.
It was decided that secretary Ministry of Industries & Production will be the convener of sub-working groups of iron & steel and chemicals, secretary Ministry of Textile will be the convener of sub-working group of textile and secretary Ministry of Energy (Petroleum Division) will be the convener of sub-working group of mines & minerals. However, convenorship of the sub-working group of agriculture from secretary BoI to secretary national food security will be changed by the Ministry of Planning, Development & Reform. Sub-working groups with approval of their convener may co-opt other officials or non-officials as members, for specific inputs and similarly may modify ToRs to make them more action-oriented. It was also agreed that conveners of the sub-working groups will hold at least two meetings within fortnight to accelerate their working, besides proposing certain projects to be shared with the Chinese side prior to the holding of the next meeting of JWG-IC.
The proposals/projects received so far and to be received will be further discussed in the subsequent meeting of the WG on IC (Pakistani side) before sharing with the Chinese side).
It was decided, inter alia, that conveners of above mentioned sub-working groups will arrange two meetings within 15 days from the issuance of notifications of the relevant sub-working groups and submit projects/proposals to secretariat of industrial cooperation under CPEC i.e. BoI, so that the same may be shared with Chinese side in the forthcoming meeting of 3rd Joint Working Group on Industrial Cooperation.
The house was apprised by the Director General BOI that to promote mutual cooperation and strengthen bilateral trade and investment under industrial cooperation, there is urgent need to devise a framework agreement to be signed by Pakistan and Chinese side. To serve the purpose and to organize discussions, the BoI has prepared a draft framework agreement for industrial cooperation.
It was decided in the meeting that draft framework agreement prepared by the BoI containing broader features of cooperation may be circulated amongst all members of the Joint Working Group (Pakistan's side) to seek their views/comments before finalizing the same by the BoI.
Sources said that the large investment projects will be identified by the Pakistani side to materialize them with support of Chinese SOEs. Preparation is underway for large Chinese delegation in October 2018 for signing various projects.
The chair requested all participants/members of JWG (Pakistan's side) to provide project feasibility studies/papers wherein the Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs) may be attracted for investment & executing of these projects, so that some success stories may be achieved in the Industrial Cooperation JWG. It was decided that all concerned may submit their proposed projects with pre-feasibility studies or concept papers, so that the same be shared with the Chinese side.
The director general BoI has intimated that sister provinces and sister cities relationship agreements MoUs have been signed between Pakistan and China for carrying out cooperation at the local levels. It was decided that provincial level concerned authorities may approach the Chinese side sister cities to explore various avenues of cooperation, in areas of economy, people to people exchange, tourism, education, etc.
The NAVTTC has to submit a proposal through EAD to upgrade the National Training Bureau so that financing could be obtained from Chinese side under IC. The NAVTTC needs to update the progress made in the matter so far.
The representative of NAVTTC informed that they have submitted the proposal to the EAD. However, the EAD replied that the same proposal may be submitted with the written approval of CCC of M/o Planning, Development & Reform and matter is currently lying in Planning Commission. It was decided that a tripartite meeting among Ministry of PD&R, BoI and NAVTTC will be arranged to expedite the matter.