Pakistani Board of Investment (BoI) Chairman Muhammad Azfar Ahsan has invited other nations around the world to join the multibillion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) infrastructure project, saying the scope of industrial cooperation under the scheme is all-inclusive and open to third-party participation.
CPEC is a central part of the Belt and Road Initiative, under which Beijing has pledged over $60 billion for infrastructure projects in Pakistan, much of it in the form of loans. The plan is part of China’s aim to forge “Silk Road” land and sea ties to markets in the Middle East and Europe.
Speaking at the CPEC Industrial Cooperation B2B Investment Conference on Tuesday, Ahsan invited businessmen from across the globe to invest in diverse sectors of Pakistan’s economy and briefed participants about various “investor-friendly” policies introduced by the government, including the electric vehicle, mobile manufacturing and construction sector policies.
“Pakistan has a liberal investment regime,” he was quoted by the Express Tribune newspaper as saying.
Ahsan told participants about the the “Pak-China B2B Investment Portal” developed to create opportunities for joint ventures between traders from the two nations and also discussed the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) being developed under CPEC, three out of the nine of which are at an advanced stage of development, namely the Allama Iqbal Industrial City in Punjab, Rashakai SEZ in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Dhabeji SEZ in Sindh.
Attractive fiscal incentives being offered under SEZs include a tax-free period of 10 years and customs duty exemption on the import of capital goods for both developers and enterprises, the chairman said: “Pakistan accords top priority to the development of SEZs under CPEC.”
Board of Investment Secretary Fareena Mazhar said the government treated both local and foreign investors equally.
“There are ample opportunities for foreign investors to invest with 100% equity or joint ventures in various fields as repatriation of investment and profit has been allowed with legal protection,” she said. “There is no requirement of minimum investment for business startups.”