July 12, 2024

KARACHI: As the country is faced with a serious economic crisis, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Syed Asim Munir told the business community that all-out efforts will be made to bring foreign investment to the country and revive the economy, The News reported Tuesday.

 

The army chief gave these assurances in one of his recent detailed meetings with the traders where he spoke with the business community candidly.

 

Speaking in the Geo News programme “Aaj ShahzebKhanzada Kay Sath” on Monday, Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh said that the meeting with the army chief is a breath of fresh air.

 

He said the army chief told them that a $25 billion investment had been discussed with Saudi Arabia, which had assured Pakistan of investment in IT, minerals, agriculture and defence.

 

COAS Munir told the business community that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman had agreed that of the $25 billion, $10 billion would be kept in the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP). This will be returned in the form of the Pakistani rupee or goods so that the foreign exchange could increase.

 

The army chief said that the crown prince has identified bureaucracy obstacles to investment and called for removing them, adding that they have Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) to do away with the bureaucratic hurdles.

 

Now nobody could disturb them, nor any bureaucrats could undermine them nor would they face any problems with courts. He said the army chief told the business community that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) had held out the assurance that each would invest $25 billion, while $25 billion each would come from Qatar and Kuwait.

 

Sheikh said that Gen Munir had vowed that the land-grabbing mafia and the extortion mafia would be reined in to control corruption, adding that four task forces are being constituted on the Federal Board of Revenue of Pakistan (FBR), border control, smuggling and social media to improve the situation.

 

FPCCI president also stressed that the business community had become disappointed but the army chief had given it courage and hope.

 

Meanwhile, Business Group Chairman Zubair Motiwala said that every new chief holds meetings with traders.

 

Welcoming the meeting, Motiwala said that the body language of the army chief was different this time as compared to the traders’ meetings held with his predecessors. He added that Gen Munir went to Saudi Arabia and the UAE for the revival of the economy, and now he plans to go to Qatar and Kuwait.

 

Motiwala said COAS Munir directed the corps commander that not a single litre of Iranian diesel should come to Karachi while he also issued directives for retaking encroached lands, ending corruption and improving law and order.

 

The COAS also said that only registered Afghan refugees can live in Pakistan and the rest of them will have to go back to their country, adding that Saudi’s crown prince complained about corruption and bureaucracy in Pakistan.

 

Motiwala said they discussed the charter of the economy with the army chief, hoping that such a huge investment would bring improvement to the economic conditions in the country.

 

He said they drew the attention of the army chief towards the need for investment.

 

The business community also told Gen Munir that Rs1,300 billion is going to waste due to state-owned enterprises, stressing that political governments cannot opt for privatisation, he added.

 

The army chief said he realised that the government would not go full-fledge for privatisation and would get rid of the burden at all costs.

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