A very warm welcome to OICCI, the premier body of foreign investors in Pakistan. We are the largest chamber in Pakistan both in terms of sizeable contribution to the GDP and tax collections in the country. OICCI being the collective voice of about 200 largest foreign investors in Pakistan has a very important role in facilitating the flow of fresh FDI in the country besides ensuring that the existing investors are fairly treated by the Key Stakeholders especially the Government authorities. OICCI recommendations on Taxation, Trade and other Economic Policies and Regulatory matters are based on research and feedback from the internationally well-known investors in the country and is therefore given due importance and consideration by the relevant authorities and stakeholders.
Pakistan is currently attracting increasingly positive attention from potential investors, rating agencies and international media who have recognized the improved economic parameters, visible improvement in the security environment, the stable economic environment with lowest level of inflation and interest rates, supported by relatively stable exchange rates and attractive investment policies. The improvement in economic parameters is complemented by a healthy sustained growth in the operating performance of most of the leading corporates which has created an exciting business environment for new comers as well. On top of this the record level of growth at the Pakistan Stock Exchange has definitely added further positivity to the otherwise not so well perceived, Pakistan business environment. With a sizeable middle class of roughly 60-70 million, and a relatively younger population offering attractive opportunities for international investors, the country obviously is very attractive for all kinds of businesses. OICCI members belonging to 35 countries, some of whom operating for over 50 years, understand the dynamics of the operating environment and have already benefited from attractive fiscal incentives offered to investors in Pakistan. Besides new FDI, OICCI existing Members have been investing about $ 1.5 Billion annually in expanding their operations in Pakistan.
The recent $52 Billion investment plan under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is generating higher visibility and interest from large local and international investors. CPEC is perceived in Pakistan to be a game changer for the country. However, the above opportunities are not without challenges which need to be proactively better managed. Besides negative perception which, unfairly, overrides the positive opportunities offered by the country, the government authorities in Pakistan, both at Federal and Provincial level, have to take ownership and embark on bold measures to improve its rating in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business parameters, facilitate the consistent and transparent policy implementation, broaden the tax base and review and revise the regulatory environment in line with the international practice.
Looking ahead, OICCI Members are positive about the opportunities and have, by and large, delivered healthy returns on their investment in Pakistan. We, at OICCI, will continue to work closely with all interested parties including government authorities, our members and potential investors in making sure that Pakistan is perceived positively for the right reason and is able to attract sizeable FDI which it deserves based on solid rationale provided above.
M Abdul Aleem