Foreign direct investment surges 52pc to 21-month high in March

According to SBP data, power sector received largest amount of FDI in Mar, totaling $167.5 million followed by oil and gas exploration sector $19.9 million and financial businesses $25.1 million

By Our Correspondent
April 23, 2024
A man counts US dollars in a money exchange shop. — AFP/File

KARACHI: Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Pakistan rose 52 percent year-on-year to a 21-month high of $258 million in March, central bank data showed on Monday.


In March 2023, the country drew in $170 million in net FDI. The direct investment increased by 97 percent on a month-on-month basis. FDI came at $131 million in February.

According to the State Bank of Pakistan's data, the power sector received the largest amount of FDI in March, totaling $167.5 million followed by the oil and gas exploration sector ($19.9 million) and the financial businesses ($25.1 million).

Net FDI inflows, however, fell by 10 percent to $1.09 billion in the nine months of the current fiscal year.FDI in the power sector fell by 38 percent to $443 million between July and March of FY24.

Analysts attributed China's aggressive withdrawal of investment from power projects to the reduction in FDI in the energy sector. During July-March FY24, total direct investments from China decreased by 53 percent to $262 million.

In the first nine months of the current fiscal year, foreign direct investment in the financial sector fell to $151 million, a 33 percent decrease from a year ago. Direct investment in the petroleum refining sector was $70 million, down from $71 million a year earlier.

FDI in the oil and gas exploration sector, however, rose to $171 million, a 71 percent increase.Pakistan is anticipated to see a rise in foreign direct investment (FDI) in the coming months as Islamabad is in talks to secure a new loan from the International Monetary Fund. Investor trust in the nation's economy will increase as a result.

According to reports, Pakistan is actively soliciting investment from Saudi Arabia, guaranteeing priority profit repatriation without limits and predicting higher returns.Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will be visiting Saudi Arabia on April 27–28 and aims to discuss this investment initiative with the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC).Earlier, on a recent two-day visit to Pakistan, the Saudi delegation expressed interest in mining, agriculture, and the Diamer Basha dam.