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60pc foreign firms to invest more

60pc foreign firms to invest more

KARACHI: Foreign investors and members of the Overseas Investors Chambers of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) foresee their business growing over the next two to three years, but express their dismay with several aspects of doing business in Pakistan as well as “less than desired” support from various government ministries and regulatory bodies.

According to results of the 2015 Perception and Investment Survey unveiled by the OICCI the premier body of leading foreign companies operating in Pakistan on Tuesday, nearly 60 per cent of the respondents say they plan to make new investment. Out them, seven out of 10 plan to invest more or similar amounts over the next one to five years, as compared to the investments they made in the previous corresponding period.

Moreover, 69pc respondents plan to increase their employment base, 84pc are expecting increased sales and 79pc expect their profits to rise.

On the flip side, total investments indicated by respondents over the next five years amount to around $3bn only, an insignificant amount given the fact that OICCI members invested $1.4bn in 2014 alone, according to a separate survey done in June 2015.

As for ease of doing business, where Pakistan’s business climate has been compared with 10 regional countries, respondents rate India marginally higher than Pakistan. In the 2013 survey, Pakistan was rated marginally above India.

As expected, China, Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates and Thailand, which offer a significantly more conducive business and infrastructure environment, are also preferred over Pakistan.

However, more than half of the respondents give a higher rating to Pakistan as compared to Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, the Philippines and Vietnam despite the fact that macro-economic indicators of these countries have been better than Pakistan in recent years.

More than 50pc of the respondents have once again identified security situation and energy shortage as the two biggest challenges they face.

Although addressing energy gap is high on government’s agenda, “the results have not yet materialised”, the survey added.

Members have regularly highlighted that instead of broadening the tax base, authorities continue to put more burden of taxation on compliant tax payers. The “super tax” introduced in the Federal Finance Act 2015-16 has been a hard blow for successful companies as they feel that they are being penalised for good management and tax compliance, it said.

Moreover, respondents have expressed their disappointment on actual performance of the government by maintaining ‘policy implementation’ as the fourth biggest challenge, the same position as in the 2013 survey.

Courtesy : Dawn News



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