‘9,035 Afghan nationals have accounts in 26 banks’ – Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser said that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a wonderful opportunity and business and investor-friendly policies would attract investors from across the world to invest in various businesses in Pakistan.

The speaker expressed these views, while chairing the 8th meeting of the Executive Committee of Pakistan-Afghanistan Parliamentary Friendship Group (Pak-Afghan PFG) in the Parliament House on Thursday.

He said that promotion of trade with its neighbours need special focus of the public representatives.

He mentioned that Pakistan has a wonderful opportunity to capitalise on the unfolding CPEC and its trade with Afghanistan especially in the post Covid-19 context.

While reviewing the implementation status of recommendations of the Pak-Afghan PFG, Speaker Asad Qaiser directed the Commerce and Law Ministry to expedite the bill process for evolving a workable trade dispute resolution mechanism as it has been pending since one year.

He also stressed that there should not be any discriminatory policies of banks for opening bank accounts of foreign investors.

The deputy governor of State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) briefed the committee that total 9,035 Afghan nationals have bank accounts in 26 banks of the country.

He said that border management and border markets need interventions to create economic opportunities for people in and around the border areas.

He stressed the importance of cross-stuffing of transit trade containers to radically reduce the cost of transit trade.

He also directed the Ministry of Interior to simplify the procedure for foreign nationals to own properties in Pakistan, in a bid to encourage them to invest in the country.

The Board of Investment (BOI) was instructed to come up with a comprehensive proposal to encourage foreign investment in Pakistan.

The Committee also deliberated initiative to enhance pharmaceutical exports to Afghanistan.

Arbab Shahzad, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) emphasised the need to have workable solution for relaxing ban on the export of livestock, especially for the people of borders areas in the KPK and Balochistan.

He also sought strong coordination between federal and provincial departments to tackle the issues of border areas especially emerging issues of pedestrians, providing alternative livelihoods, and infrastructural development.

On the briefing by representative of the Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC), he said that the recruitment process of various FBR posts be expedited.

MNA Shandana Gulzar also remarked about open regime for investors and making trade friendly policies.

The meeting of the Executive Committee was attended by Special Assistant to Prime Minister Arbab Shahzad, Special Envoy of Prime Minister for Afghanistan Sadiq Khan, MNAs Shandana Gulzar Khan, Mohsin Dawar, Yaqoob Sheikh, Salahudin, and senior officers of the Ministry of Interior, Commerce, the FBR, the National Logistic Cell, Food Security, Foreign Affairs, Board of Investment, and governments of Balochistan and KP.

On the instructions of the speaker National Assembly on Wednesday, the Executive Committee’s task force had met and discussed various challenges to tapping the potential of Chaman as hub for Pak Afghan trade.

The 2-hour long meeting took up over 16 agenda points and deliberated various issues in detail.

The meeting had ended with notable progress towards resolution of important issues involved.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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