No compromise on writ of state: SIFC

ISLAMABAD (APP): Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) Saturday here declared that there would be no compromise on the writ of the state and nobody would be allowed to impose its agenda through use of force and barrel of the gun.

Caretaker Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani conveyed the declaration on behalf of the Apex Committee of SIFC after its fifth meeting. He was addressing a press conference along with Minister for Information and Broadcasting Murtaza Solangi, Minister for Interior Sarfraz Bugti, Minister for Information Technology Umar Saif, Minister for Law Ahmad Irfan Aslam and Advisor to PM Jawad Sohrab Malik.

The minister said Pakistan was playing an important and effective role in the region and at international forums. Pakistan had improved its relations with China, the United States, European Union, Saudi Arabia, Gulf Cooperation Council and countries in the Middle East and Central Asia, he told.

He said the Gulf countries had shown keen interest in investment in Pakistan after formation of the SIFC. He said a comprehensive policy would be formulated for resolution of issues of overseas Pakistanis. The government had adopted a zero-tolerance policy against smuggling and it would speed up the process of ensuring sale of taxable goods, he mentioned.

In his remarks, Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti said that a significant business-friendly visa policy was introduced, aiming to promote investment and stimulate economic growth. He said that, under the revised policy, the visa process had been streamlined to be more business-friendly, facilitating foreign investors in establishing businesses within the country.

Additionally, visas will be issued with greater ease to individuals associated with business entities, and recommendations from bodies like the Chamber of Commerce will also be considered. Minister Bugti emphasised the government’s commitment to combat smuggling vigorously.

A collaborative anti-smuggling campaign, involving federal and provincial law enforcement agencies, had been initiated to prevent the illegal trafficking of various goods, including currencies, fertilizers, sugar, and wheat. Furthermore, Minister Bugti revealed a comprehensive strategy for repatriating refugees to their respective countries.

The objective was to significantly increase refugee registration rates from 38% to an impressive target set at 98%, with the assistance of NADRA (National Database and Registration Authority). Bugti reaffirmed the government’s dedication to maintaining peace and stability. He underlined the successful past efforts in combating terrorism and stressed the government’s resolve to prevent any individuals or groups from pursuing any agenda through firearms and violence.

Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Dr Umar Saif said that the taxation system was being digitalized and that it will help in documenting the economy. He said the Information Technology (IT) sector had emerged as a vital contributor to the nation’s economy. With a growing focus on digitization, the taxation system was undergoing a significant digital transformation, which was poised to streamline economic documentation, he added.

He said that the ongoing digitization efforts were expected to provide a substantial boost to the economy by creating a more transparent and documented financial landscape. He said this initiative aligned with the government’s goal of transitioning towards a cashless economy. The minister said Pakistan’s IT sector had already made substantial strides, with total earnings reaching a remarkable $2.6 billion.

These earnings, he said, were expected to increase further with the implementation of measures aimed at enhancing the IT industry’s contribution to the nation’s reserves. He said IT training will be provided to approximately 200,000 young individuals. The minister was of the view that this initiative sought to empower the youth and make them an integral part of the global economy.

In addition to workforce development, measures were being taken to facilitate freelancers, with plans to provide services for up to five million individuals across the country he added. This initiative, he said, aimed to boost economic growth by enabling freelancers to contribute billions of dollars to Pakistan’s economy. Furthermore, Pakistan was making strides in mobile phone manufacturing, which was expected to stimulate local industry and create job opportunities.

Minister for Law Ahmad Irfan Aslam said the SIFC looked into the environmental issues faced by Pakistan, which suffered a loss of $ 30 billion last year. He said a policy was being prepared for conservation of water, adding, “We are preparing a carbon registry and a fund to fight climate change.”

He said the President would remain in office till a successor replaced him. He said the caretaker government was continuation of constitutional order and would work according to its mandate. The agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) would be fulfilled, he added.