To meet the global challenges and international competitiveness effectively the Board of Investment (BoI) requires help and assistance from the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) in framing a robust investment policy to enhance productivity and ease in doing business.
This was stated by Mohammad Jehanzeb Khan, Secretary, Board of Investment, during a meeting with Mazhar Nasir senior Vice President FPCCI at the Federation House. He said that Pakistan’s Investment Policy had been formulated to create an investors friendly environment with a focus on further opening up the economy and attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and provide equal treatment to foreign and local investors and this could be achieved with support and input from the FPCCI which has its fingers on the pulse of the economy and serves as a bridge between the private sector and the Government.
He pointed out that with the help of FPCCI the BoI plans to promote local entrepreneurs to setup industries in the country so that FDIs could be encouraged and in this connection, he reviewed the presentation made by FPCCI comparing the incentives and opportunities for the foreign investors in other countries in the region with ours. The countries include India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Malaysia.
The FPCCI presentation on country-wise inflow and out flow of investment reveals that India’s inflow is US$39,916 million and outflow US$11,304 million, Bangladesh’s inflow US$2,152 million and outflow $170 million, Indonesia’s inflow US$23,063 million and outflow US$2,912 million, Sri Lanka’s inflow US$1,375 million and outflow US$72 million and Pakistan’s inflow is US$2,768 million and outflow US$67million. On the other hand, sector wise investment inflow shows Bangladesh received investment worth US$ 594 million in telecommunication, US$360 million in textile and wearing and US$334 million in power while India US$11,972 million in manufacturing, US$5,876 million in communication services and US$3,732million in financial services and Pakistan US$707 million in construction, US$276 million in financial business and US$196 in oil and gas.
The secretary BoI was therefore, of the view that since Pakistan was lagging behind in providing business opportunities as compared to the other countries in the region there is a need for regular interaction and consultation with FPCCI for preparing policies attractive enough for the foreign investors. The Secretary assured that BoI would guarantee that the business community to play a leading role in persuading the business community across the country to capitalize on the business opportunities with focus on value additive industries that will provide real platform for competitive trade in global economy.
Mazhar Nasir responding to the plea said that FPCCI was ready to render all out support and assistance and would also prepare a draft investment plan 2019 as desired by the Secretary BoI.
Meanwhile, he emphasized the need for activating the commercial section of Pakistan missions abroad to promote investment opportunities and incentives given by the government of Pakistan to the potential investors. He reminded that it was decided that FPCCI and BoI would jointly organize investment meetings in different cities within the country as well as abroad. It was also discussed that BoI set a criteria for prospective participants attending meetings in different countries as member of the delegation.
Talking about a neglected sector of tourism, he said that BoI might explore this sector which definitely had immense potentials. All what required is to study the prospects and develop a comprehensive plan to reinvigorate this sector and FPCCI could help BoI. The investment under CPEC also came under discussion and both sides agreed that Pakistan entrepreneurs should also be provided with a level playing field. They also discussed making EPZs and SEZs more attractive for the investors.
Mazhar Nasir also apprised the BoI Secretary about various problems being faced by the business community. For instance, he said that huge amount of exporters’ liquidity of billions of rupees in shape of refunds of sales tax claims, customs rebate, withholding tax and payments of DDT and DLTL have been stuck up with the government causing great sufferings to the already harassed and burdened exporters who are now at a loss to understand how to make both ends meet and such an alarming situation will ruin the export business of the value-added textile exporters.
Syed Mazhar Ali Nasir, Senior Vice President FPCCI is Presenting Crest to Jehanzeb Khan, Secretary, Board of Investment (BOI). Shakeel Ahmed Dhaingra, Maher Alam Khan, Addl Secretary General I FPCCI, Amjad Qureshi, Addl Secretary General II FPCCI are also present at the occasion.
Published in Melange Intl. Magazine September 2018.