LAHORE, (Muzaffargarh.City – 28th Aug, 2017 ) : Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and South Punjab Forest Company (SPFC) on Monday agreed to make joint efforts to promote investment in forestry sector of South Punjab, besides highlighting the forestry opportunities offered by the Punjab government.
The consensus was made at a consultative session here at Lahore Chamber, where LCCI President Abdul Basit, Senior Vice President Amjad Ali Jawa, Chief Executive Officer of SPFC Tahir Rasheed, Moazzam Rasheed and Tehmina Saeed Chaudhry spoke on the occasion.
LCCI and SPFC also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in this regard. SPFC Chief Tahir Rasheed briefed the business community about SPFC saying that it was a Punjab government entity, established as a Public Sector Company, which aimed to stimulate private sector investment alongside public money to reduce deforestation in Punjab and to combine forest conservation with sustainable economic development.
He mentioned, SPFC was offering 99,077 acres of land for forestation and range management to investor for 15 years in five districts of South Punjab – Bahawalpur, Rahim Yar Khan, Rajanpur, Muzaffargarh and D.G.
Khan. This initiative, he said, would benefit local economy by creating over 15,000 jobs and most importantly provide sustainably farmed wood to the wood-based industry, eventually reducing logging pressure on natural forests of Pakistan.
On this occasion, LCCI President Abdul Basit urged the SPFC officials to launch an awareness campaign so that the concept of sustainable forestry could be promoted. He also stressed the need to educate people regarding this concept for which media could play an important role.
“We have to recognize that forestry is an integral feature of sustainable economic development and it should be the focus in policy corridors for generating new economic opportunities,” he suggested.
By developing forestry as a commercially viable sector, he said, the country could make agriculture sector stable and valuable for economy. SPFC Chief Tahir Rasheed explained that SPFC aimed to achieve sustainable development goals (SDGs) Goal 15 – Life on land, which focused on managing forests sustainably, restoring degraded lands and combating desertification etc.
The initiative would eventually contribute to reducing pressure on the existing forests and halting deforestation was also vital in reducing the impacts of climate change, he maintained. The company, he said, believed that this approach would generate both long-term capital appreciation for partners and an attractive and sustainable income yield.
In future, he mentioned, the SPFC would seek to invest in forestry projects that were or would be certified by a reputable forest management certification scheme.