Promising investment prospects

ACCORDING to a survey by American Business Council, over 78% American companies are committed to investing more in Pakistan over next 12 months, up 13 percentage points compared with 65% last year. Main reason behind the positive trend is improved security situation in the country. The survey reveals a significant improvement of over 30% in perception of security-related matters compared with last year.
It is rightly said that international standing and perception is extremely important as Pakistan competes with other Asian players to attract foreign capital in the form of exports, human resources and most importantly foreign direct investment. There was a time when not to speak of attracting foreign investment, our own entrepreneurs had started shifting their units abroad and there was also considerable flight of capital in the wake of precarious security situation caused by terrorism and militancy. Thanks to political will of government and determination of armed forces to root out terrorism, today situation has considerably improved and this is particularly so in the case of Karachi, which is considered to be business capital of the country. A major difference in perception came because of decision of China to invest huge money in Pakistan under the umbrella of CPEC and this is no rhetoric as projects are at implementation stage. This is a clear message to investors around the globe that situation in Pakistan was normal and the country offers attractive investment incentives. However, government will have to work hard to make Pakistan one of the choicest places of investment in the world. There is appreciable focus on infrastructure improvement yet authorities must lay sincere efforts for eradication of corruption, ensure not only uninterrupted supply of electricity and gas but on cheaper rates, tax concessions and above all simplification of procedures for investors. A separate package for overseas Pakistanis may also be prepared as they can invest back in motherland provided we are able to win their confidence.

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