Exclusive: SIFC gets division status to tackle economic challenges


SIFC

ISLAMABAD: The federal government has approved the formation of a Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) division aimed at bolstering institutional strength and attract investment to Pakistan.

Sources told HUM News English that the decision was taken during a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, where the creation of the new division was approved.

The meeting also sanctioned the establishment of a Project Management Unit to attract top talent to further enhance the SIFC’s capabilities.

Established in June 2023, the SIFC was designed to tackle national economic challenges by providing a single window for stimulating investments. This model seeks to minimise bureaucratic hurdles and foster federal-provincial harmony through a whole-of-government approach, enabling swift decision-making and promoting macroeconomic stability with the involvement of civil-military cooperation.

According to the sources, during the meeting, SIFC officials briefed the prime minister on the body’s operations, scope, and future outlook. They highlighted that the SIFC’s mandate has evolved significantly over the past year. Initially focused on key sectors, the SIFC now facilitates investments across all sectors of the economy.

The premier was told that SIFC’s services have been extended to domestic investors alongside foreign ones, and its engagements have expanded from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region to encompass all regions and countries. In addition to attracting fresh investments, the SIFC is now addressing legacy issues as well, the meeting was told.

The officials emphasised that the SIFC has significantly boosted investor confidence and trust internationally, leading to enhanced interactions with friendly countries and domestic investors. The body’s efficient delivery has resulted in growing hopes and expectations, the prime minister was inflrmed.

However, despite its achievements, the officials said that the SIFC faces challenges due to its limited human and administrative resources.

Also read: New committee formed to implement SIFC recommendations

Currently, the entity operates with a minimal workforce, relying on personnel from the Board of Investment (BOI), Pakistan army, and various ministries.

The sources said that this shortage has hindered the SIFC’s ability to perform optimally, particularly in managing regional and sectoral desks and consulting with experts.

During the meeting, Prime Minister Sharif commended the SIFC’s efforts over the past year and acknowledged the necessity for additional resources to accommodate its expanded scope and mandate. He endorsed the proposal to grant the SIFC the status of a separate division to ensure its smooth functioning.

By establishing the SIFC as a dedicated division, the government aims to enhance the entity’s capacity to facilitate investments effectively, contributing to Pakistan’s economic growth and stability.

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