September 13, 2018: The government of Pakistan has recently been advised by an advocacy group of multinational companies working in the country to review the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and free trade agreements (FTA) in order to provide a level playing field for all stakeholders.
The Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) has recommended Finance Minister Asad Umar to do the same. Foreign investors have also linked future investment plans with stability in economic policies.
OICCI President Irfan Wahab Khan on Wednesday said that there has to be a level playing field for all stakeholders and discrimination of any sort should be addressed.
He said the foreign investors’ chamber also required a review of free trade deals and bilateral investment treaties.
Reorganization and simplification of the tax system as well as broadening of the tax base through the use of data and technology was also advised by the President of OICCI.
He further pointed out that the crucial challenges to the inflow of foreign direct investment (FDI) into Pakistan were ensuring stability in government policies and their implementation, especially regarding taxation.
As per a press release, Mr. Wahab has stated that Overseas Investors have brought in investments worth $2.7 billion into the country during the year 2017, despite a challenging and instable environment. This was on a par with the total FDI received in 2017-18.
A survey of 190 members of OICCI in which 130 members participated, revealed that this investment was about 20 percent higher than that made in the prior year.
“The 2017 OICCI members survey re-affirmed the confidence of existing foreign investors, who believe in the high economic and investment potential of Pakistan” he added.
OICCI Security survey conducted in June 2018 exclusively among the foreign investors has also confirmed significant improvement in the security environment in Pakistan supported by substantial increase in the number of overseas visitors since 2014 including staff from overseas Headquarters of leading MNC’s.
“Foreign investors are confident that the new government will take some bold measures timely to steer the economy on a solid growth trajectory in line with its great potential,” he further added.
“OICCI members have recommended measures to boost business confidence through policy announcements on matters relating to taxation, debt management, reforms in tax bureau and tax system, measures to boost the FDI as well as improving ease of doing business in Pakistan.”
Wahab emphasized that the OICCI was positive about a substantial growth in the FDI, in addition to CPEC investment, due to the competitive advantage for Pakistan supported by a more focused approach by the government towards growth-oriented economic and trade policies.
He also said that there are immense opportunities to transform Pakistan into a “Digital Pakistan” with the objectives of increasing the ease of doing business, enhancing transparency, improving Govt2Govt and Govt2Citizen services, thereby encouraging longer term investment into the Services sector and export oriented industries.
“OICCI is committed to support the government in managing many of the challenges through active engagement and support on many fronts including standing up for Pakistan at international and national forums to share the success stories and experience of its members. On September 11th, OICCI had an interactive session with diplomats of 35 countries represented at OICCI, giving a comprehensive overview of the experience and opportunities for foreign investors in Pakistan”, he concluded
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