BoI Seeks Cabinet Panel’s Nod for Building CPEC Tower in Islamabad

Industry

The Board of Investment (BoI) has moved a summary to the Cabinet Committee on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CCoCPEC), seeking approval for establishing “CPEC Business and Industrial Cooperation Tower” in Islamabad to provide state-of-the-art working facilities to investors and businesses.

The BoI meeting, which was earlier scheduled for October 8, 2021 and postponed, was held with Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar in the chair.

It is to note that Prime Minister Imran Khan, in his capacity as minister in charge of BoI, had seen the summary and authorized its submission to the cabinet committee, as required, to seek its approval of the proposal.

According to the summary, a copy of which is available with ProPakistani, the BoI had requested the Capital Development Authority (CDA) on 8 May 2020 to identify a suitable piece of land in Islamabad for the tower, however, no land could so far be identified for the project.

Meanwhile, a few Chinese state-owned companies have already approached BOI, expressing their interest in exploring and executing this project through a public-private partnership.

It is worth mentioning here that Pakistan had proposed during the 1st Joint Working Group (JWG) meeting on Industrial Cooperation under CPEC in November 2016 the construction of eight multistorey CPEC towers in Islamabad Capital Territory, all the provincial/regional capitals, and in Gwadar. The purpose of establishing the towers is to provide potential Chinese investors and their Pakistani counterparts with adequate services and space.

Later, the Pakistani side again shared this idea with the Chinese side in the 2nd JWG meeting in November 2017, underlining that the two sides could work on “Iconic Projects” under the Industrial Cooperation. However, no further development could take place in this regard.

Such structures, the summary explains, established around the world act as a catalyst to proliferate economic activities in a country. It says that financial centers, business and trade centers, and corporate towers, etc. have been established in many countries, e.g. Marina Bay Financial Centre (MBFC) in Singapore, to provide investors and businesses with state-of-the-art working facilities.

Considering its utility and symbolism, BOI has again shared the proposal to jointly work on the inclusion of the tower in the list of projects to be made part of the Memorandum of Understanding between Pakistan and China, which is likely to be signed during the upcoming visit of the Chinese President to Pakistan. The same proposal was also been endorsed by the CPEC Authority during its meeting on 13 April 2020 as well as by the Ministry of Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives.

The summary underscores that the modalities to acquire a piece of land at a suitable location in Islamabad need to be worked out with CDA, while any assistance from the Chinese side in the project also needs to be discussed. It has been proposed that the cost of land, to the tune of Rs. 500 million, for this project may be borne by BOI from its own resources, without seeking any additional budget grant, whereas the cost of construction of the CPEC Business and Industrial Cooperation Tower may be borne by the Chinese counterpart or by a partner selected after international competitive bidding. Proportionate equity against the land may be taken by the BOI in the project after valuation of the land on market principles, the summary noted.

It is further stated that it was decided in the meeting of the CCoCPEC held on 26 January 2021 that summaries related to pending issues of CPEC projects will be submitted to the forum for approval in its forthcoming meeting. It is proposed that the cabinet committee may approve the proposal for the establishment of CPEC Business & Industrial Tower as per the model proposed in the concept note.

Source: Pro Pakistani