October 9, 2019: ‘The reforms to address the macroeconomic challenges faced by the economy are now beginning to bear fruit and improvement in the external sector has become visible. Restoring stability will promote investment in the country and thus economic growth,’ said the Governor of State Bank of Pakistan, Dr. Reza Baqir during an interactive session with leading foreign investors at the Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI). Governor was accompanied by the senior leadership of the SBP.
The Governor noted that the bold measures taken in recent past were painful but necessary. He elaborated that the average monthly current account deficit, which has been a prime concern for the economy, has halved, export volumes have been growing, non-borrowed foreign exchange reserves have stopped falling and in fact begun to grow, and pressures on inflation are expected to recede from the second half of the current fiscal year.
President OICCI, Shazia Syed, Vice President OICCI, Shazad G. Dada and Secretary General OICCI, M. Abdul Aleem, highlighted the significant economic contribution of foreign investors at OICCI, who are among the largest economic stakeholders and have invested over $13 billion in the past seven years and continue to have a positive view of the opportunities for investment despite the ongoing challenging economic environment in the country.
OICCI shared with Dr. Reza Baqir the key highlights of its annual survey on remittances and complimented the Governor that despite extreme pressure on the FX reserves in the past twelve months, the SBP did not delay the remittance of profit, which was appreciated by the foreign investors.
However, concerns on some other areas were raised and OICCI sought Governor’s support in facilitating different matters in the light of its policies towards improving ease of doing business in Pakistan. OICCI members presented a comprehensive list of recommendations to facilitate doing business in Pakistan including proposal for doing away with additional approvals for remittance which are as per registered contract, and proposed that an online portal be established allowing banks to upload the request and supporting documents.
Dr. Reza Baqir appreciated the contribution of OICCI members to the national exchequer and announced various measures to further streamline the processes for improving ease of doing business.
“SBP is moving towards digitalization and proactive engagement that will address the major issues systematically,” informed the Governor. He promised to consider various OICCI recommendations and agreed on the need for continuous dialogue with the OICCI members inviting the Managing Committee to meet the SBP’s leadership at regular intervals for timely resolution of the issues.