ISLAMABAD - Taking strong exception to complaints by foreign companies and investors, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has directed the Board of Investment and Ministries of commerce, finance and planning to remove all obstacles in the way of foreign investment in the country.

Pm Shehbaz Sharif constituted a committee to address the problems faced by foreign companies especially those investing in Gwadar Free Zone. The committee will present its report and recommendations to the Prime Minister within ten days. The Prime Minister issued these directives while chairing a meeting to review the problems being faced by foreign companies and investors.

The Prime Minister directed that Chinese investment companies should be facilitated on priority basis and directed to remove all the hurdles in the acquisition of visas by the Chinese workers. He said the visa procedure should be simplified and fast tracked for businessmen.

The Prime Minister was given a detailed briefing about the companies interested to invest ten billion dollars in energy, infrastructure, railway, port infrastructure and other projects. The meeting was informed that in the first phase, an immediate investment of one to two billion dollars is expected. These projects will not provide forty five thousand jobs but will also improve Pakistan’s Ease of Doing Business Index. The Prime Minister directed the Investment Board and the Ministries of Planning and Finance to collectively frame a comprehensive plan regarding these projects.

Uzbek envoy meets PM

Ambassador of Uzbekistan, Oybek Usmanov also called on the Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in Islamabad on Monday and delivered him invitation from Uzebk President Shavkat Mirziyeyov for participating in SCO Summit at Samarkand next month. The PM graciously accepted the invitation. The Prime Minister highlighted Pakistan’s vision for deeper engagement with Central Asia and the important role of Uzbekistan in this regard. He expressed satisfaction at the level of close and fraternal relations between Pakistan and Uzbekistan and emphasized the importance of further deepening bilateral trade and economic ties. The Prime Minister underlined the significance of the Trans-Afghan Railway Project to advance the connectivity agenda and promote regional prosperity. He also invited Uzbek investments in Special Economic Zones (SEZs) of Pakistan, particularly in industrial, electronics and agricultural sectors, which would accrue mutual benefits.

Shehbaz says Chinese investment companies should be facilitated on priority basis

Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif underscored the need to urgently operationalize the Transit Trade Agreement and Preferential Trade Agreement in order to fully unlock the immense bilateral economic potential. He also reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to provide transit access to Central Asian Republics to the ports of Karachi, Bin Qasim and Gwadar.

The Prime Minister stressed closer collaboration in education, tourism and cultural spheres to promote people-to-people contacts. He underlined the importance of direct air connectivity in this context and urged the respective national airlines to start operations at the earliest to facilitate the movement of businessmen, students and tourists between the two countries. While highlighting convergent perspectives of Pakistan and Uzbekistan on regional issues, the Prime Minister reaffirmed Pakistan’s strong resolve for lasting peace, security and stability of Afghanistan.