KARACHI: While bringing the same and lengthy bureaucratic attitude in attracting foreign investment in the province, the Sindh Board of Investment (SBI), which performed extraordinarily since its inception, has been abolished “without any solid reason”, Pakistan Today has learnt.
“The Sindh government has now established a new department – Investment Department – to be headed by a grade-20 officer and all government structure,” said sources privy to the situation.
According to sources, Sindh’s immense economic potential requires sustained public-private collaboration and sees a pivotal role in building such a relationship for itself and SBI aimed to bring public objectives closer to private aspirations.
The SBI vision was to develop and promote an investment-friendly environment that boosts economic activity, brings value addition to all sectors of the economy and encourages public-private partnership for the socio-economic development of Sindh.
However, the Services General Administration and Coordination Department (SGA&CD) abolished the years old SBI through a notification a few days ago and removed its chairperson, Naheed Memon as well as other staff members from duty.
Businesswoman Naheed Memon had negotiated and brought several international investments to the province as chairperson of the SBI, which was directly corresponding with the federal government’s Board of Investment (BOI) to facilitate investors and propose various projects for their inclusion into the multi-billion-dollar Pakistan China Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.
Further, the SBI had also been assisting companies and investors who intended to invest in Sindh while facilitating the implementation and operation of their projects.
It is pertinent to mention here that the SBI acted as a focal point of contact for prospective investors, both domestic and foreign, providing a one-stop window with all necessary information and assistance in coordination with other government departments.
The new Investment Department was constituted through another notification released at the same time; however, it would take months for its offices to get functional, ending the concept of a one-window facility for investors.
With the abolishment of SBI, various important projects including different Special Economic Zones (SEZs), Free Trade Zone, Industrial Estate, and Industrial Park, Khairpur Special Economic Zone, Korangi Creek Industrial Park, Bin Qasim Industrial Park, Dhabeji Special Economic Zone Thatta (CPEC project), Sindh Education City and many others would be affected.
Pakistan Today repeatedly tried to contact Sindh Chief Secretary Syed Mumtaz Shah Bukhari for comment; however, his cell phone remained unattended until the filing of this report.