I am pleased to welcome you at the OICCI website as President of the Chamber for the 2017 term. As you may be aware, OICCI members are leading MNCs, highly respected by all stakeholders for their significant contribution to the socio-economic growth and development of Pakistan. I am aware that the honour also carries high responsibility and it will be my aim and effort to effectively represent all the OICCI members at various forums, push for resolution of their legitimate issues and provide support to all the initiatives towards promoting FDI in the country.
Business confidence across the country remains consistently positive, as per OICCI bi-annual Business Confidence surveys, and we fully recognize and appreciate various initiatives taken by the government to accelerate economic growth by improving the key economic parameters, including the record low level of interest rates, inflation, and relatively stable exchange rate. These measures together with improved business and security environment are matters of great satisfaction for investors. However, there are many challenges as well, which are constraints for the country in achieving its full potential. The Balance of Trade as well as Balance of Payment is under severe pressure due to declining exports and remittances from overseas. This together with a low level of FDI, no major breakthrough in broadening the tax base and some concern on the regulatory environment and consistency of policy are adding to the economic challenges and impeding the growth of the country to its potential. Pakistan’s rating, for example, in the WB Ease of Doing Business parameters is still abysmally low at 144 out of 190 countries. Moreover despite significant improvement in the security and business situation, the perception of the country is still not fairly positive.
We at OICCI are very proud of our history and contribution of our members, who are leading multinationals operating in Pakistan over many years. We continue to remain constantly engaged with the authorities for improving the business environment through well researched recommendations on matters of taxation, trade, FDI growth and Intellectual Property Rights. We also regularly seek opportunities to promote the country at national and international forums to present Pakistan’s success story to potential investors, based on structured surveys. Overall, we are bullish about Pakistan, and believe it has a huge appetite to easily absorb large amounts of FDI and that the true economic potential of the country is yet to be properly exploited by international investors who can benefit from the opportunities offered by the country – both from demographic and strategic location perspective . We also believe that CPEC has added a significantly large and new dimension to large and longer term investment opportunities in Pakistan.
Finally I would like to thank all OICCI members, our key stakeholders and members of the Managing Committee whose support and help is necessary to meet the Chambers objectives and to ensure that OICCI remains on the high pedestal on which it is perched today.