IN what could be termed a significant move to boost foreign investment, the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) unveiled a revamped visa policy on Saturday aimed at attracting investors from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations and other countries. Highlighting some key features of the policy, Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar ul Haq Kakar said Pakistani embassies will now grant visas to business people who possess a letter of invitation from either the host countries or any globally recognized business organisation. Then foreign business people can also obtain visas by presenting invitations from Pakistani chambers of commerce and entrepreneurs.
In our view, the new visa policy sends a strong signal to potential investors that Pakistan is committed to welcoming foreign capital. This will boost investor confidence and encourage more businesses to explore opportunities in the country. By reducing bureaucratic hurdles and streamlining the visa process, Pakistan is likely to witness a surge in FDI that will stimulate economic growth, create jobs, and promote innovation. There are already reports that advance level agreements have been reached with GCC countries, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. According to Law Minister Ahmad Irfan Aslam Pakistan is expected to sign first agreement with Saudi Arabia by the end of this year. Indeed this is a positive development that will also encourage other foreign companies to come with their investments. It is really important to fully facilitate and address genuine concerns of the GCC countries in order to ensure early materialisation of these investments.
We are confident that both civilian and military leadership will spare no effort in this regard. In addition to targeting foreign investors, it is essential to recognise the invaluable potential of Pakistani Diaspora as a source of investment. The Pakistani Diaspora is spread across the globe, with significant communities in countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Gulf countries. We will suggest the government to establish dedicated programmes and initiatives to connect with the Pakistani Diaspora and encourage them to invest in Pakistan. These initiatives could include investment forums, webinars and incentives for Diaspora-led businesses. We believe Pakistani Diaspora can really make a big difference in wide range of sectors and it is only a matter of giving them confidence that they will be forthcoming with their investments.