*President stresses on institutional framework to encourage foreign investment in ICT sector*

By Our Staff Reporter

Islamabad: ISLAMABAD, Sep 23 (APP): President Dr Arif Alvi on Thursday called for establishing an institutional framework to encourage the multinational companies and the Pakistani diaspora to extend their business setups in Pakistan, particularly in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector.

Addressing a meeting via video-link with the Pakistani diaspora from Silicon Valley, USA, the president underlined the need to improve the business environment by simplifying the procedure for registration of companies and capital movement to attract foreign investments in Pakistan.

The president said the government was taking serious measures to provide an enabling environment to foreign investors.

He said the ICT sector was being strengthened owing to its great potential to put the country on fast-track development.

He emphasized the need to develop a comprehensive and coordinated strategy to cope with the cyber threats by ensuring the safety of cyberspace for citizens and businesses.

The president highlighted that Pakistan produced 30 thousand IT graduates every year, of whom only 5,000 got employment while the rest faced difficulties in getting jobs due to lack of marketable skills.

He also emphasized the need to improve the skills of IT experts and graduates by training them as per market requirements.

The president assured the Pakistani diaspora of his support to help address their concerns by providing them a business-friendly environment.

The meeting deliberated upon the issues being faced by the foreign investors and Pakistani diaspora while setting up businesses and making investments in Pakistan.

The leading IT experts of the Pakistani diaspora from Silicon Valley highlighted the issues being faced by them such as the complicated procedure for registration of companies, lengthy process of opening of bank accounts and lack of one-window operation, which hindered foreign businesses and investors coming to the country.

The experts suggested various measures to improve the business environment to make Pakistan an attractive destination for investments in the IT Sector.

The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) informed the meeting that the registration process for companies had been simplified, and it took only four hours to register a company with SECP.

The Secretary Board of Investment (BoI) informed that Commercial Courts had been set up in 23 districts of the country to resolve commercial and trade disputes.

Governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Dr Reza Baqir informed the meeting that the State Bank was making efforts to provide an enabling environment to businesses and foreign investors.

The meeting also stressed the need to amend and simplify the existing notarization procedure to facilitate foreign investors.

Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Syed Amin-ul-Haque, Secretary IT&T Sohail Rajput, Secretary Finance Yusuf Khan, Secretary Commerce Muhammad Sualeh Ahmad Faruqui, Secretary BOIFareena Mazhar, Additional Secretary Ministry of Interior Momin Agha, Registrar SECP Mubashar Saddozai, and member Inland Revenue of Federal Board of Revenue Qaiser Iqbal attended the meeting.

Governor SBP Reza Baqir, Ambassador of Pakistan to the USA Asad Majeed Khan along with the members of the Pakistani diaspora, including Moazam Chaudhary, Saleem Ahmad, Zia Chishti, Najeeb Ghauri, Naveed Shervani, Aly Fahd, Raghib Hussain, Idris Kothari, Safwan Shah, Riaz Siddiqi, Ahsan Sohail, Waheed Qureshi, Amir Khan, Ahmad Ayub, Mamoon Hamid and Faisal Sohail participated in the meeting via video-link.

President Dr Arif Alvi Thursday while lauding their approach on international issues, said the leadership of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia was capable to lead the world through their vision.

The president, addressing a seminar on “Pak-Saudi Relations: Past, Present and Future” held here, said having their religious affinity, the people of Pakistan were devoted for security of the holy land of Saudi Arabia.

Federal Ministers Chaudhry Fawad Hussain and Pir Nurul Haq Qadri, Special Assistants to PM Allama Tahir Ashrafi and Shabaz Gill, Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood, Saudi Ambasador Nawaf Bin Said Al Maliki attended the event held in connection with the celebration of 91st National Day of Saudi Arabia.

The president said the first treaty of friendship between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia was signed in 1951 and that both the countries had a long history of friendship.

He said even after India carried out atomic explosion, Pakistan’s friendly countries stood by it to build the capacity and achieve deterrence.

The president especially lauded the treatment of Pakistani workers in Saudi Arabia who also contributed to Saudi development besides sending remittances to Pakistan.

He viewed that no incident in the history could hurt the Pak-Saudi relationship as both the countries showed their exemplary friendship even at international forums.

President Alvi said the whole Muslim world looked at the Saudi leadership for guidance on international issues.

He said at a time when the commercial and other vested interests dominated the international affairs, the world needed a leadership which formulated its policies on the basis of morality. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia can fill the gap, he added.

Lamenting the phenomenon of fake news, the president said the Holy Quran had also warned about the same tendency which also led to the prevailing situation in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The president appreciated the vision of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman for environment protection as well as Saudi Vision 2030 which featured the development of a modern and unique city.

He said Pakistan and Saudi Arabia effectively handled the COVID pandemic regardless of whatsoever the fake news said about the two friendly states.

Later, the president gave shields to Saudi Ambassador, Tahir Ashrafi and four overseas Pakistanis for their remarkable contribution to strengthen Pak-Saudi ties.

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