ISLAMABAD – South Punjab Forest Company (SPFC) organised an inception seminar at ICCI, in collaboration with the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) on Friday.

The main objective of the seminar was to create awareness regarding opportunities in the forestry sector among the members of ICCI and potential investors.

Tahir Ayub, Vice President, ICCI, thanked the participants and appreciated the role of SPFC in promoting sustainable forestry investments in Pakistan.

“We firmly believe that SPFC will play an important role in reducing the debt in a balance of trade by providing sustainably farmed wood to the wood-based industry. This will also help to save the existing forests of Pakistan,” Tahir Ayub said.

Tahir Rasheed, CEO, SPFC, informed the participants about the various kinds of forests that exist in Pakistan.

While informing the participants about global forestry investments, Tahir Rasheed said, “the total investable and leasable global forest lands are estimated to be over 870 million hectares, which worth more than US $ 480 billion. Moreover, global forestry investments are increasing at 20 percent annually over the past 20 years, which clearly indicates that forestry sector offers low risk with high returns.”

Tahir Rasheed further told that SPFC has been mandated to promote afforestation on 134,995 acres of allotted land across six districts of South Punjab, which includes, Bahawalpur, Bahawalnagar, Rahim Yar Khan, Rajanpur, Muzaffargarh and D.G. Khan. The initiative will ensure that the investment is capable of sound financial performance for 15 years. This will be further extended to another 15 years if the investor adheres to the agreement.

The presentation was followed by Q&A session. The business community suggested to increase the lease time period to 30 years and also asked for a tax rebate for the wood-based industry. Tahir Rasheed affirmed to incorporate their suggestions in the upcoming feasibility study.

Tahir Ayub, Vice President, ICCI, gave the concluding remarks and hoped that the initiative will bring a green revolution, create green jobs and contribute to the GDP.