Special Council formation on Investment Facilitation in Pakistan

 Special Council formation on Investment Facilitation: can it be possible to revive Pakistan's ailing economy based on just promises? 

Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif has formed a special committee to bring investment from Middle East countries to Pakistan and made Army Chief General Asim Munir a part of it. 

According to the official statement, the purpose of this special committee, created in the name of 'Special Investment Facilitation Council', is to improve the process of investment from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in the fields of defence, agriculture, minerals, IT and energy.  . 

This project has come at a time when Pakistan is facing a severe economic crisis and there are increasing fears of bankruptcy of the country due to the fading prospects of the IMF program recovery, while on the other hand, the political crisis in the country has also subsided.  Not taking the name. 

The Prime Minister has also formed three different committees under this council, in which the first apex committee will be headed by Shahbaz Sharif himself, while Army Chief General Asim Munir has been made a part of it on special invitation.  It is not clear what role the army chief will play in this council. 

After the Apex Committee, the Executive Committee has been formed which will include the Federal Ministers for Defence, IT, Energy and Ministers of State for Petroleum and Finance. 

Apart from them, the provincial ministers for agriculture, minerals, IT, energy, finance, planning and all the chief secretaries will also be part of this committee. 

At the third level, an implementation committee has been formed which includes a Director General of the Pakistan Army, a Special Assistant to the Prime Minister and the Secretary of the Council, who will be a 21st grade officer. 

What is the purpose of the Special Investment Facilitation Council?

Federal Minister of Petroleum Mossadegh Malik while talking to Geo News program Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada termed the formation of this committee as a one-window operation style plan to facilitate foreign investment and said that all those institutions  Those that are in any way related to investment are grouped together.' 

He said that committees have been formed to implement three levels.  One, an apex committee has been formed under the chairmanship of the prime minister, including cabinet members and the army chief, which will initially meet every month. 

The second is the Executive Committee, which consists of ministers and provincial governments, federal government institutions.  And the third is the implementation committee which will meet every week. 

Explaining the objectives of this council, Dr. Mossadegh Malik said, "The objective is that whoever is coming to invest, if there is any legal problem, then it should be removed, if there is a problem with the rules and regulations, it should be removed."  , and if there are only slow administrative matters, they should also be removed.' 

Mossadegh Malik said, "What was being called Plan B, today it has come before the people." He claimed that "the important news is not that a procedure has been decided, but the important news is that  That there are commitments behind this procedure.' 

But at another point in the program, when Mossadegh Malik was asked whether the IMF will not be approached, Mossadegh Malik said that only the Prime Minister has the authority to say that this is our economic plan B.  .' 

He said that there is a program of 112 billion dollars in the next five, seven years which was presented today. 

Mossadeq Malik claimed that "there are commitments (assurances) from numerous countries, but especially Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and some from China." 

It is already decided from these countries that you will invest, and in which places.  But the problem is that assurances do not work.  They come here and then they are spoiled. 

The three countries have allocated 20-25 billion dollars for investment in Pakistan.  They are saying that we want to invest in agriculture, minerals and IT.

Is it possible to claim economic recovery based on promises? 

Talking to journalist Tanveer Malik, Pakistan's former finance minister and economist Dr. Hafeez Pasha said that the promises are very beautiful that by 2035 the country's GDP will increase three times to one trillion dollars and if it happens  This means that no one will remain poor in the country, but the current ground situation is that 40 percent of the country's population is living below the poverty line, while Pakistan is currently among the lowest countries in the world in the ease of doing business index.  included. 

He said that due to this project, some ongoing projects can be accelerated, but in order to bring foreign investment in the country, the government will first have to convince the private investors in their country to invest in Pakistan.  Only then will any foreign investor invest in Pakistan. 

Talking about restoring the economic system, he said that if only the investment sector is taken, it does not make sense to create a council because there is an institution in the country in the form of an investment board, it should have been strengthened because it  Have the required experience and expertise. 

On the other hand, Prime Minister of Pakistan's Coordinator for Industry and Trade Rana Ehsan Afzal told BBC that promises and claims have been made and they can be fulfilled.  He said that if this government removes all obstacles in the investment of 25 to 30 billion dollars in the next two months and those investments come to Pakistan in the new government, then there should be no problem in making such a claim. 

He said that investment commitments of several billion dollars are in the pipeline at this time, for which the establishment of this council was necessary.  He said that this series has to be maintained and this work will continue even during the tenure of the new government because it is not related to any government. 

A political slogan or a workable plan? 

Talking about the viability of this big plan of economic recovery, Khurram Hussain, a senior journalist and analyst of economic affairs, told journalist Tanveer Malik that if the government's aim is to restore the entire economic system through this plan, it is  A political slogan but if there is a plan to bring in some investment then it can be viable. 

He said that this investment can also come at the government-to-government level, such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and China, etc. make some investments at the government level, but it is difficult to bring private investment through it because the countries  The conditions are not favorable for any private investor to invest here. 

He said that the purpose of this project has to be seen, if the whole economic system is behind it, then it is very difficult but investment can be brought. 

Dr. Pasha said that everything is possible, but it is necessary that the intention is right and much more will have to be done to restore the entire economic system. 

Adeel Malik, a professor of economics at Oxford University in the UK who works on the economies of Pakistan and the Middle East, told journalist Tanveer Malik that Pakistan needs the dollar to maintain the 'authoritarian power-sharing' arrangement it currently has.  He said that politically the domestic situation has been controlled to some extent, but for economic stability, dollars are still needed and this project is a plan to bring dollars from abroad, especially the Gulf countries. 

According to Adeel Malik, the current system needs a development narrative to give itself moral justification, and this will be possible when foreign dollars come from Gulf countries, which now invest in projects instead of giving cash.  You can do this by doing.

Discussion on social media: 'This is a solution to such a problem
which does not exist. 

There was a lot of discussion on the social media of Pakistan on this decision of the Prime Minister, in which, on one hand, questions were raised on the inclusion of the Army Chief in this council, on the other hand, its effectiveness was also criticized. 

However, there were also people who considered the establishment of this council as a welcome step. 

Journalist Kamran Khan wrote that the determination is to put Pakistan on the highway of economic development.  Today, under the supervision and support of the army, a broad plan for the economic recovery of Pakistan has been arranged. 

It will ensure a one-window operation for the expected investment of billions of dollars in agriculture, IT, defense production, mineral mining, energy sectors in the country.  This project of economic recovery of Pakistan is going to start soon. 

On the other hand, analyst Musharraf Zaidi wrote that "this council will fail because it is a solution to a problem that does not exist." 

He was of the view that 'all investors are aware of the good relationship between PDM and GHQ and they all know that they are on the same page.' 

He wrote that 'will this council be able to establish a situation of peace between the politicians, judges, people and the state that can lead to the stability that foreign investors can get?

Are willing. 

A user named Ali Hasnain wrote, "Mossadegh Malik is admitting that there is a problem with our laws and bureaucracy, but instead of correcting these problems, we will create an avenue for foreign investors." 

Uzair Younis wrote that "Now the army chief and the army will play a direct role in bringing foreign investment in the country. My salute to those who have this idea."


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