ICCI for promoting foreign investment to revive the economy

  • August 15, 2013
Pakistan is losing attraction for foreign investment due to which economy is suffering and government should take urgent measures to attract more foreign investment which is very important to revive the economy, said Zafar Bakhtawari, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry while chairing a meeting of ICCI Sub-Committee on Investment. 
He said that less than four percent growth of GDP, rising unemployment, increasing inflation & current account deficit as well as falling value of our currency clearly indicate that foreign investors are still hesitant to explore Pakistan for investment and government should address all their concerns on priority to encourage foreign investment in the country.
He said though the inflow of foreign direct investment has slightly improved, but still the size of FDI is extremely low as compared to five years ago. Pakistan witnessed a significant fall in FDI inflows which dropped from $5.4 billion in 2007-08 to $853 million during July 2012 to April 2013. He said many foreign companies are still interested to set up businesses in Pakistan, but they are waiting for government to take steps for creating investment friendly environment in the country. 
Zafar Bakhtawari said Pakistan needs to create about two million jobs a year to absorb new job-seekers and luring increased investment is the only way forward to create jobs and provide employment to the youth. He warned that if left unattended, our demographic dividend of youth could turn into a nightmare for the country creating social unrest and many other problems.
He said Pakistan also needs enhanced investment to finance its infrastructure, heath care and consumer goods. He remarked that Pakistan’s investment policy, though good on paper, has failed to attract meaningful investment in job creating industries and stressed that policy makers should revisit the investment policy to remove its snags and make it more investment friendly.
The committee members opined that due to its strategic location and growing population, Pakistan is a huge market and the most suitable place for investment in different sectors of its economy. They said due to lack of encouragement and supportive measures, many potential investors have diverted their investment to Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and other countries. 
They said Pakistan needs to improve its ranking in ease of doing business and take urgent measures to restore the confidence of investors by improving law & order situation and tackling terrorism so that more investment could come to Pakistan, which will help in fast revival of economy.