Saturday, September 09, 2023
Web Desk

Govt to ease visa regime for businessmen: PM Kakar

SIFC’s key objective is addressing investors’ problems, says Caretaker Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani

Web Desk
Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar chairs the 5th Apex Committee Meeting of the Special Investment Facilitation Council in Islamabad on September 9, 2023. — PID
Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar chairs the 5th Apex Committee Meeting of the Special Investment Facilitation Council in Islamabad on September 9, 2023. — PID

  • Trade with US increased by $3 billion, says FM Jilani.
  • Long-term visas will be issued to business community, he says.
  • Tax system is being digitised, says IT Minister Umar Saif. 

In a bid to shore up dwindling foreign investments, Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar on Saturday announced that Pakistan would ease its visa policy for overseas businessmen.

The caretaker premier made the announcement while chairing the fifth apex committee meeting of the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) in Islamabad today.

The government will ensure easy provision of visas to the businessmen, he said, adding, “Pakistan is entering a new era by these measures.

Addressing a joint press conference flanked by other ministers after the SIFC meeting, Caretaker Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani announced that the government would issue long-term visas to the business community on investment.

Terming the European Union (EU) as Pakistan’s “important partner”, he said the country’s trade with all the countries increased during the recent months.

“Trade with the United States (US) increased by $3 billion”, the minister added. He maintained that SIFC’s key objective was addressing investors’ problems.

The government is taking steps to remove the problems of foreign investors, caretaker FM Jilani said, adding that Pakistan’s ties with the regional and international community were getting stronger.

“Pakistan’s defence, political and economic relations [with the world] are improving,” he added.

Terming the SIFC a “revolutionary step”, the caretaker foreign minister said, “Like China, we also have close trade relations with the US.”

“Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have also shown interest in investment in Pakistan.”

He also shared that the government was taking steps to boost bilateral trade with the EU and Africa.

On his part caretaker Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti said, “The Interior Ministry has made the visa policy business-friendly. Investors will be given visas on easy terms.” The government was taking special measures to curb smuggling, he added.

Responding to a question about terrorism, the interior minister said that no one would be allowed to impose their agenda at gunpoint.

'Tax system is being digitised'

Caretaker Minister for IT and Telecommunication Dr Umar Saif said that the government was digitising the tax system, adding that it will help document the economy.

“IT sector can play a vital role in boosting the country’s exports,” he said, adding that his ministry may auction 5G in the next 10 months.

“Freelancing facility will be created for 0.5 million people.” Foreign reserves worth $1.5 would be brought into the country by creating a digital platform, he claimed.

The minister was of the view that they would shift the economy to a “cashless” system. He announced that Pakistan has started production of smartphones, adding, “50 million sets have already been made.”

PM directs ministers to make positive contribution

During the meeting, PM Kakar directed the ministries to optimally utilise the short interim period for a positive contribution while also initiating medium and long-term policy interventions.

Speaking on the occasion, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Syed Asim Munir pledged unwavering support of the Pakistan Army to backstop the government’s efforts for "economic revival" of the country, according to a statement shared by the Prime Minister's Office on X, formerly known as Twitter.

The committee unanimously decided to take all decisions in the larger interest of the country and deal with the menace of smuggling, hoarding and market manipulations with iron hands through an elaborate enforcement mechanism, read the statement.

The meeting was attended by the army chief, federal cabinet, provincial chief ministers and high-level government officials.