Islamabad: Professor Ahsan Iqbal, Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms and Deputy Chairman Planning Commission of Pakistan has said that Pakistan has great potential and an encouraging environment for Foreign Direct Investment (DFI) in various sectors.
He also emphasized the need for close working relations between various Government Ministries and Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce & Industry (OICCI) for facilitating a business friendly climate and removal of business irritants to facilitate FDI inflow into Pakistan.
He said that trade and commerce is the backbone of national economy and providing maximum facilities to create conducive business environment for local and foreign investors is Government’s top priority. He also mentioned that Pakistan has great potential and an encouraging environment for Foreign Direct Investment in various sectors.
He expressed these views during his visit to Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce & Industry (OICCI). The Minister was welcomed by the OICCI President Kimihide Ando, Vice President Asad S. Jafar, Managing Committee Members Saad Amanullah, Mr Faisal Sabzwari and the OICCI CE/Secretary General, M. Abdul Aleem.
Kimihide introduced all participants to the Minister and also informed him that important organisations like the IMF, China Investment Company, Business delegations from various countries always interact with OICCI and routinely consult the Chamber to get their opinion on the business climate in Pakistan.
M. Abdul Aleem in his presentation informed the Minister about the profile and contribution of the OICCI to the Pakistan economy, including its’ role in facilitating FDI, OICCI members Perception & Investment Survey 2011, Business Confidence Index survey done in August 2013 covering 80% of the economy, FDI inflow in Pakistan and the Regional countries in the last five years, Investors issues hampering FDI growth, overview of recent recommendations made to the government and OICCI view and suggestions on the Government’s Vision 2025 initiative being driven by the Minister, which inter-alia included a request for participation of all major political parties who should all take ownership to ensure continuity and sustainability of the program beyond the tenure of the present government.
In his comments to the Members of OICCI, Professor Ahsan Iqbal expressed his appreciation of OICCI and Multinational companies in Pakistan.
He mentioned that his Ministry which is now also responsible for reforms in government, is working on seven reforms related programs which include 1) Energy Security with the immediate aim to increase the efficiency of existing energy plants and improve demand management, medium term plan is for introducing coal and LNG and long term plan is to create hydel energy by construction of new dams, 2) Develop internal drivers of growth rather than being dependent on foreign loans and aid.
This aspect includes raising the tax to GDP ratio, increasing the savings, increasing exports and FE reserves, 3) concentration on upgrading social and human development capital which includes more focus on health, education and youth, 4) Transition from low value exports to value added high value exports, 5) Creation of SMEs in private sector to create employment opportunities for the young population, 6)Upgrade infrastructure in various areas to create countrywide and regional connections for better distribution system, with added emphasis on upgrading and overhauling the railways system and related matters, and 7) improve governance and do institutional reforms which will be done by meeting and consulting all stakeholders and bringing on one platform the academia, public sector and private sector.
Minister Ahsan Iqbal sought the assistance of OICCI Members in immediately filling the capacity gap in the ministry so as to lay sound foundation and fast track the Vision 2025 and next 5 year plan process.
President OICCI Kimihide Ando expressed his gratitude to the Minister for his visit of OICCI Office and appreciated the efforts of the Minister for his actions and support for a vibrant and business friendly climate in Pakistan.
He requested the Minister for representation of OICCI in various policy boards of the government to help in policy formulation aimed to mitigate the grievances and difficulties of investors.