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OPC and SPFC join hands to promote sustainable forestry investments

South Punjab Forest Company SPFC News Image

February 08, 2017:The delegation of Overseas Pakistanis Commission (OPC) Punjab headed by Afzaal Bhatti, Commissioner, OPC, visited the office of South Punjab Forest Company (SPFC), where they were briefed regarding the investment opportunities in the forestry sector.

The meeting was also attended by Syed Javed Iqbal Bokhari, Director General, OPC; and Asad Naeem, Director Administration, OPC. Tahir Rasheed, CEO, SPFC, briefed the OPC team about the investment opportunities in the forestry sector and explained that the meeting aimed to target foreign investments through the OPC platform, as Pakistani expatriates are interested to invest back in Pakistan.

Afzaal Bhatti appreciated the Chief Minister Punjab for taking a lead in this initiative. ‘The initiative to promote sustainable forestry investments is imperative for Pakistan’s transformation, therefore OPC will share this with overseas Pakistanis. Furthermore, the initiative will help to give a boom to the allied industries. Even within Pakistan, people would be interested to invest in it’, said Commissioner OPC.

CEO, SPFC, also discussed the possibility of having an MoU with OPC that can help to streamline investments and boost investors’ confidence. Afzaal Bhatti welcomed the idea, as it will help to promote green investments and create jobs in the province.hir Rasheed, CEO, SPFC, affirmed that SPFC will completely facilitate the investors in order to boost investments in the forestry sector. According to him, ‘SPFC will play an important role in reducing the import bill by providing sustainable farmed wood to the wood-based industry, as the dependence on imported wood will reduce, which will also help to save the existing forests of Pakistan’.

Syed Javed Iqbal Bokhari, Director General, OPC, suggested a certain percentage of SPFC’s land to be specifically allocated to overseas Pakistanis, a move that will help to boost their confidence. Also, he urged both the organizations to collaborate for a seminar, to sensitize the overseas Pakistanis and potential investors about the forestry initiative of the Government of Punjab.

According to Tahir Rasheed, CEO, SPFC, ‘Our feasibility study is expected to be completed by March 2017, after which we’ll share at least 10-12 business plans with the investors, and technical support will also be provided to promote forestry investments. Furthermore, the initiative will contribute to reducing the balance of payments by narrowing the demand for imported wood in Pakistan, and also contribute to the environment, as logging pressure on natural forests will be reduced.

Tahir further told that global forestry investments worth more than US $ 480 billion, with forestry investments increasing at 20 per cent annually over the past 20 years, thus highlighting that forestry offers minimum risk with high returns.

More photos of this event can be found here.

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