ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: Federal Energy Minister Hammad Azhar made a statement on behalf of the Prime Minister of Pakistan at the “Global Leadership Investment Summit”, one of the high-level events of the 7th Global Forum of Investment (WIF) on October 19, 2021.
The 7th WIF is hosted virtually by the government of the United Arab Emirates, in collaboration with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) from October 18-22, 2021.
The World Investment Forum is one of the world’s leading platforms for policy debate on investment for development.
Hammad Azhar stressed the importance of investment, saying that investment is a vital component of economic growth and development, especially in developing countries and that FDI inflows are needed more than ever.
The minister stressed that investors need legitimate guarantees to mitigate risks and ensure reasonable returns and proposed the deployment of public finances as a way to reduce the risks of private investments and said that Pakistan should prioritize flows. investment in areas aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Federal Minister suggested that multilateral development banks (World Bank, Asian Development Bank), development aid agencies and the private sector can play a major role in mitigating potential risks and, through this approach, can create a huge impact in terms of human development, poverty reduction, health, education, employment and livelihoods.
The Minister proposed an integrated sustainable infrastructure facility under the auspices of the United Nations for sustainable infrastructure in order to harmonize investment policies, provide assistance to developing countries for the preparation of projects and studies feasibility, and access both public and private funding.
Hammad Azhar agreed that developing countries, as recipients of investment flows; need to provide an enabling environment for investment and a fair and balanced regulatory framework.
The minister further said that the Pakistani government of Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has made progress on the investment front and that Pakistan has been ranked among the top ten countries in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2020 report. .
The Energy Minister also said the government has issued green bonds and is also exploring options to swap debt for projects related to environmental protection.
The minister added that the government is establishing special economic zones (SEZs) and technology parks in the country and called on global investors to take advantage of a range of investment opportunities in infrastructure, energy, communications, technology and other areas in Pakistan.
Speaking at the World Investment Forum, International Conference on Investment Agreements (IIA) 2021, another high-level event of WIF, the Secretary of the Investment Board (BOI), Ms. Fareena Mazhar, a stressed that Pakistan would renegotiate all bilateral investment treaties. (BIT) on the new BIT model and that there is an initial positive response received from BIT partners. She also pointed out that the BOI is working on reforming the overall investment policy and legal framework, for which UNCTAD has agreed to provide assistance.
Ms Fareena said that at present, governments around the world are facing pressing and controversial issues regarding their BITs, and are rethinking their approaches to these agreements, as BITs have not been so determinants of attracting much-needed FDI due to a one-sided effect of terminations are underway.
The BOI secretary added that Pakistan, with the help of UNCTAD and other renowned local and international experts, has developed the new model of BIT to enable and protect genuine and sustainable investments in the country.
Ms. Fareena Mazhar explained that the BIT’s preamble model includes achieving the SDGs, social inclusion, job creation, reduction of inequalities, poverty reduction and empowerment, protection of human rights. ‘man ; maintenance of health, labor and environmental standards; and corporate social responsibility; in addition to the promotion, facilitation and protection of investments.
Further elaborating on the new model, she said the new framework made a distinction between a short-term entrepreneur and a long-term investor; a real company and a letterbox or a shell company and that Pakistan is committed to protecting all investments from real investors in the long term.
The BOI secretary further mentioned that the Board of Investment is setting up forums to deal with grievances before they escalate into disputes and that a new dispute resolution mechanism has also been developed.
In addition to local remedies, the investor will also have the freedom to apply to international arbitration bodies, she added.