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March 14, 2018

OICCI says world’s top companies keen to invest in Pakistan

Business

March 14, 2018

KARACHI: All the world’s big companies are gravitating towards Pakistan that has an immense investment potential, huge consumer market and consistent economic growth achieved during the past couple of years, a top foreign official said on Tuesday.

Bruno Olierhoek, president of Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) said growth in auto sales and similar rise in sales of other consumer items are indicative of the massive demand and owing to improved security and energy situations. The chamber represents 190 member organisations from 35 different countries and 14 sectors of trade and industry.

Olierhoek, talking to journalists, said the government should focus on policy implementation and managing the country’s negative perception abroad in order to attract ‘the big investments’.

“Foreign investors, or any large investor, interested in making large investment in greenfield facilities, ask for predictable, consistent and transparent policy,” he added.

OICCI president said presently foreign investors are uncertain about what would happen during an interim government, or after power would be transitioned to an elected government after general elections.

High cost of doing business, lack of policy implementation and increasing tax burden are the biggest irritants for the investors, he added.

“The country should take immediate steps to ease cost of doing business,” Olierhoek said.

The key challenges are manageable through good governance and focused accountability.

Olierhoek said energy and security improvements boosted confidence of foreign investors. Sustained economic growth during the past years also provided incentives for investment.

OICCI president said Pakistan offers incentives for foreign investment, but despite improvement in security situation the country is not able to attract large foreign direct investment (FDI), which is currently well below the potential of the country. The OICCI brought $7.7 billion as FDI in the country out of total FDI of $8.6 billion during the past five years, he added.

OICCI president said the lower FDI in Pakistan was due to negative perception, poor rating of ease of doing business and complicated tax and intellectual property rights policies. Foreign investors are facing problems due to lack of coordination among federal and provincial agencies.

Olierhoek said foreign investors see China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as the biggest opportunity for developments, but are uncertain about how small and medium enterprise sector would benefit from CPEC. “There is need to take organisation like OICCI into confidence to market opportunities to potential foreign investors post-CPEC,” he added.

Abdul Aleem, secretary general of OICCI foreign investors expressed optimism on Pakistan’s economy in business confidence and perception and investment surveys.

Aleem said the association recently submitted its tax proposals for the budget of 2018/19 with an intention to make Pakistan attractive for an investment and bring the country at par with regional economies.

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