LAHORE – The Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI), the premier body of nearly 200 of the largest foreign investors in Pakistan, has expressed its dismay and deep concern at the sharp and continuous declining level of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Pakistan, and has recommended a strong focused approach by the authorities concerned to rejuvenate FDI into the country.
OICCI President Shahab Rizvi said, “One fails to understand that in spite of notable improvement in the economic parameters and security environment, especially in Karachi and good progress in narrowing the energy supply gap, why has the country not been able to win the confidence of the potential foreign investors who continue to invest heavily in the region”. “The government of Pakistan needs to immediately engage with the key stakeholders, both at home and overseas, to revise its policies and action plans to recapture the proportionate share of FDI lost to regional countries,” he added. According to OICCI, the key impediments to FDI inflows include, Pakistan’s inconsistent track record on ensuring consistency, predictability and transparency in the overall investment and business related policy framework, poor ranking in World Bank Ease of Doing Business indices (144/190), inconsistent taxation policies and uneven implementation of regulations.
Rizvi recommended that to reverse the negative trends in FDI, the government has to improve governance and accountability together with close interaction with respectable business representatives, like OICCI, supported by a structured Public Private Partnership for timely corrective measures to ensure that FDI inflow is at an acceptable level of at least 2-3 percent of the GDP.
The enhanced level of FDI is necessary to rapidly expand exports, employment and revenue base in the country.
OICCI also believes that to solicit new foreign investors, the government can also positively leverage and highlight the positive experience of existing foreign investors (members of OICCI), who invested nearly Rs171 billion ($1.7b) last year to take advantage of the business opportunities in Pakistan.