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SIFC Apex Committee Weighs Measures to Improve Business Environment


​ISLAMABAD (APP) — The fifth meeting of the Special Investment Facilitation Council’s (SIFC) Apex Committee held here on Friday with a special focus to improve the overall business and investment environment in the country being imperative for ‘economic revival’.

The meeting was chaired by Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar and attended by Chief of Army Staff, Federal Cabinet members, provincial chief ministers and high-level government officials.

The ministries concerned presented their plans/roadmaps to overcome the macroeconomic challenges, governance related impediments and voids in regulatory mechanisms in a bid to attract both foreign and domestic investment, and stimulate economic growth.

The committee deliberated upon various measures to be taken in short, medium and long terms to reap the envisaged dividends. Various practical steps were approved by the prime minister that will be operationalized as soon as possible.

The prime minister asked the ministries to deliver optimal results irrespective of the time that was available with the caretaker government and emphasized to lay a strong foundation for the future government.

Caretaker govt adopts holistic approach to revive economy: Shamshad

Caretaker Federal Minister for Finance, Revenue, Economic Affairs and Privatisation Dr Shamshad Akhtar Friday said the caretaker government had adopted a holistic approach to address the pressing issues being faced by the economy and develop a roadmap with an aim to augment the macroeconomic management.

“We will operate really holistically and consistently as a team. This will be an important change that incharges of all segments will work together,” she said while addressing a press conference.

A principle had been adopted to look at the government as a whole, she added.

The minister was flanked by Caretaker Minister for Commerce and Industry Dr Gohar Ejaz; Caretker Minister for Information and Broadcasting Murtaza Solangi; and Caretaker Minister for Energy, Power and Petroleum Muhammad Ali.

Dr Shamshad said subcommittees of the cabinet had already been institutionalized, including Economic Coordination Committee (ECC), Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC), Cabinet Committee on Privatization (CCoP), and Cabinet Committee on Energy.

She said they were having intergovernmental discussions with one another and making sincere efforts to define a roadmap for augmenting the macroeconomic management in the country.

She said the government was reinforcing fiscal stability and fiscal coordination with monetary policy as well as external policy, as it an anchor of macroeconomic management.

She said the caretaker setup wanted to revive economy and for that they were working to “define the steps for economic jump start”. Along with that they were making efforts to enhance social safety net during the period when structural adjustment reforms programme was implemented.

“We will try to enhance the social safety net and more importantly financial inclusion will be expedited so that SME (small medium enterprises) and agriculture sectors, and citizens get an opportunity for financial empowerment through digitization.”

The minister said the State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) were facing issues and had burdened the exchequer, so the government would prepare an SOE privatization policy to overcome the problems.

She said a Central Monetary Unit would be established with two basic pillars, including (1) to help various ministries to strengthen the corporate governance of SOEs, and (2) prepare the entities that are ready to take forward for listing them for privatization.

The government, she added, wanted to diversify the SOEs debt burden through capital market as currently it was solely burdening the banking sector. “Even the government also raises debt from the baking sector,” she said.

The strategy would also help enhance depth and breadth of capital market, she said, adding the caretaker setup wanted that the government securities were floated at the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) so that their maturity was stretched and common man could invest in them.