Govt to facilitate foreign, local investors: PM

The premier says industrial development top priority and directs to start work on housing projects.

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that the government is committed to providing all possible facilitation to international companies to invest in various sectors of Pakistan.

Talking to a delegation of Abu Dhabi Group of Companies on Friday, Prime Minister Imran said that Pakistan offers enormous investment opportunities. The premier added that the government has taken multiple steps to ensure ease of doing business in the country, including assistance being provided to foreign investors under one-window facilitation.

Expressing confidence in the investment-friendly policies of the government, the delegation appreciated Imran Khan’s vision to promote investment in the country and measures to facilitate foreign investment companies. It also expressed keen interest in increasing investment in Pakistan in future.

Separately, Members of National Assembly (MNAs) Asim Nazir and Khurram Shahzad, along with Shahid Nazir from Faisalabad, called on Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday.

They presented suggestions to the prime minister regarding industrial development in Faisalabad and also shed light on steps taken on priority basis to resolve problems in their respective constituencies.

Speaking on the matter, the premier said that industrial development is the top priority of the government as it is critical for job creation and enhancing exports.

Furthermore, Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed the authorities concerned to immediately start work on the housing projects for the poor and low-income groups.

He said this while chairing a meeting on Friday, which reviewed progress on a range of projects, including Ravi Urban Development, Central Business District, relocation of Walton Airport and the provision low cost housing units to the people in the surroundings of Punjab.

Prime Minister Imran directed that timelines should be set for completion of the low cost housing units.

The meeting was informed that low-cost houses of three to five marla will initially be constructed in 25 to 27 districts of Punjab and later its scope will be expanded to 87 different locations. In the initial phase, the Punjab government will provide land and capital for the project.

Regarding Ravi Urban Development Project, PM Imran stressed that this is of immense importance for the socioeconomic development of the people of Lahore. This will not only create economic activities but also provide job opportunities to the people, he said.

The meeting was informed that matters pertaining to the design of Ravi City Project have reached the final stage. It was further told that steps are being taken to hold an investors conference. The meeting was also informed about the progress made so far for the acquisition of land for the project.

Regarding the Central Business District Project and relocation of Walton Airport, the meeting was informed that the commercial, retail and residential zoning of the projects is being done as per the international standards.

In yet another meeting, Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed to take timely measures to ensure uninterrupted availability of edible items at affordable rates and to bring down the prices of essential items ahead of the holy month of Ramadan.

The premier issued these directions while chairing a review meeting regarding essential items, especially the availability of wheat and sugar, on Friday.

The PM instructed to guarantee uninterrupted availability of essential items at the Utility Stores Corporation (USC) outlets and to continuously apprise him regarding the monitoring of prices.

Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh informed the meeting that the Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI) of the last seven weeks shows that decline in prices of onion, tomato, chicken, and meat has begun.

The meeting was briefed about steps for release of wheat as well as Economic Coordination Committee’s (ECC) decision to import sugar and its impact on reduction of sugar prices.

Participants of the meeting were informed that the market has become stable as a result of the government’s decision to import wheat.

The meeting stressed the need to continue focusing on enhancing production of essential items, especially wheat and sugar for stability in their prices.

Moreover, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday said that the government is announcing a special package for Waziristan so that the area, which was once neglected, could witness progress and development.

“The people of Waziristan will witness a change in the next two to three years,” he said while talking to a private television channel.

The Prime Minister while talking about the foreign funding case said he has called for an open trial of the case because he has no fears regarding the funding of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

“An open hearing of the foreign funding case should be ensured,” he said, adding that all funding received by the PTI is legal and on record.

He blamed the previous chief election commissioner, appointed by opposition parties, for playing games in the foreign funding case against PTI which led to a delay in the matter. “The case was based on a bad intent,” he said while reposing his confidence in the incumbent chief election commissioner (CEC) of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

Further speaking on the broadsheet scandal, the prime minister said that the inquiry committee would decide on the saga as PTI has nothing to do with the matter and it was former military ruler General retd Pervez Musharraf who gave NRO at that time.

He also defended the immediate payment to the Broadsheet after a decision from the London court, saying a delay would have cost £5,000 per day to the country in terms of interest on the amount payable.

While expressing regret over the hike in prices of commodities, PM Imran Khan blamed the previous governments for it and said that if they would not raise fuel prices in the country owing to an increase in the international markets then it would overburden the country’s economy. “We even had to raise the power tariff as any delay will further increase Pakistan’s debt,” the Prime Minister said.

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