Foreign investors upbeat on Pakistan, OICCI tells PM

KARACHI: Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) President Atif Bajwa on Wednesday informed the prime minister that the overall results of the OICCI Perception & Investment Survey were encouraging and reflected the positive sentiment of the OICCI.

“This could be seen from the fact that 82% have stated that they foresee continuing growth in their businesses and that they are generally committed to making further investment in Pakistan,” he added. Total amount of investments indicated by respondents’ is estimated to be approximately $3 billion, over the next few years, the president said, adding that the OICCI members continue to have confidence in the country and have hopes that the business climate will improve, with nearly 80% of the members stating they will recommend more foreign direct investment into Pakistan.

Atif Bajwa said, “The respondents have also highlighted their concern with some aspects of doing business in Pakistan and have indicated that more support from certain government ministries and regulatory bodies is required.” The good news from the OICCI Perception and Investment Survey, 2015 is that the country’s economy continues to improve, he said. “This is a welcome sign for the youth entering the job market with more than half of the respondents indicating that they will add to their employment base. Moreover, nearly 60% of the respondents indicated plans to make new investments, out of which more than seven out of ten respondents plan to invest more or similar amounts over the next 1 to 5 years, as compared to the investments they made in the previous corresponding period. The planned investment in business and human capital is expected to boost revenue and profitability, as 84% of the respondents are expecting increased sales and 79% expect their profits to rise,” the OICCI president informed. The survey further revealed that when comparing Pakistan business climate with ten regional countries, more than half the respondents gave a higher rating to Pakistan, as compared to Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Philippines and Vietnam. A significant number of foreign investors have given good ratings for certain aspects of doing business like access to local finance, safety of foreign investment, repatriation of profit and relatively favourable ratings for an independent legal system, and protecting minority interest’, which reflect the liberal and investor-friendly policies appreciated by foreign investors.

Atif Bajwa said, “More than 50% of the respondents have, once again, identified security, law and order situation and energy shortage as the two biggest challenges they face followed by an increasing tax burden, policy implementation and lack of inter-governmental coordination.”

Despite the above negative perceptions, the survey responses, related to risks, should be encouraging for policy makers as the high risk rating for Pakistan as a venue for investment, has, in the opinion of the respondents reduced to 19% from 42% in 2013.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was pleased to note the positive sentiments of the OICCI members in the survey and assured OICCI of the government’s wholehearted support in removing all the impediments to make Pakistan an investment destination of choice for foreign investors. The prime minister also agreed to maintain regular engagements with OICCI to promote FDI in the country and improve ease of doing business.

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