Government should set realistic investment target – Mian Shaukat Masud

  • August 04, 2009
Setting $ 75 billion investment target for the next five years is too ambitious, particularly in the prevailing conditions of insecurity & energy crisis and government should set realistic investment target to improve the confidence of local and foreign investors.

This was said by Mian Shaukat Masud, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) while commenting on the proposed investment policy unveiled on Friday by Senator Waqar Ahmed Khan, Federal Minister for Investment.

He said setting annual investment target of $ 15 billion was unrealistic at a time when businesses were closing and economy shrinking due to high interest rates, energy crunch and inflation. He said government should first ensure 24/7 availability of energy supply, rationalize power tariff, reduce interest rate, improve infrastructure and then set high investment targets because without improving basic requirements, no investor would come to Pakistan.

Muhammad Ishtiaq Qureshi, Vice President ICCI said that banks were not extending loaning facility due to cash crunch which was hampering local investment and government should intervene to ensure easy credit facility for businesses for improving investment.

However, Mian Shaukat lauded the proposed establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in various sectors of the economy, but added that SEZs should not hurt the business of existing industries in the country.

He also welcomed the initiative to give five years’ tariff holiday on imports of raw material & machinery for investors in SEZs and ten years tariff holiday to developers which could prove great attraction for investors.

He said textile industry was the backbone of Pakistan’s exports, but regretted that no measures to entice investment in textile industry were announced in the proposed investment policy. He said Indian and Chinese textile industries could fall back on their domestic markets in case of pressure on exports as their share in the domestic markets was much higher than export markets. Even then, he added, the Chinese and Indian governments provided huge subsidies to their textiles to ensure that their exports did not suffer, but lamented that our government was did not provide any relief to textile industry.