Govt may review CPEC, FTAs if needed, says OICCI president

Islamabad – Government should have to review the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Free Trade Agreement (FTAs) if it thinks that there are issues with the agreements.

This was stated by the president of Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI), Irfan Wahab Khan during an interaction with media here.

There should be the level playing field for all investors as Irfan Wahab stated that the members of OICCI have a point of view that CPEC has brought an investment so it’s good for Pakistan.

OICCI President Irfan Wahab said that OICCI members invested a record $2.7 billion in expanding their business footprint in Pakistan during 2017, despite a challenging and unstable environment.  This is at par with the total new FDI received in the country during 2017-18. The investment of OICCI members in 2017 was 20 percent higher than the previous year and was mainly in the energy, chemicals and telecom sectors”.

The OICCI has done two surveys in recent months, participated by 130 out of a total 190 members and reflected that the OICCI members’ total assets were $90 billion with a 2017 revenue of over $36 billion. Once again OICCI members emerged as the largest tax contributors in the country with a total contribution in excess of Rs1 trillion. Irfan Wahab added, “the 2017 OICCI members survey re-affirms the confidence of existing foreign investors, who believe in the high economic and investment potential of Pakistan.

OICCI Security survey conducted in June 2018 exclusively among the foreign investors has also confirmed significant improvement in the security environment in Pakistan supported by a substantial increase in the number of overseas visitors since 2014 including staff from overseas headquarters of leading MNCs.”

Commenting on the OICCI’s recommendations for accelerated economic growth, OICCI President, representing the collective view of the 190 members, was confident that “the new government will soon take some bold measures to put the economy on solid growth trajectory in line with the great potential of the country.

OICCI members have recommended measures to boost business confidence through policy announcements on matters relating to taxation, debt management, reform in FBR and tax regime and measures to boost FDI, as well as improving Ease of Doing Business in Pakistan. Pakistan currently attracts low FDI, which is less than one percent of its GDP against the norm of three percent in the regional countries”.

Looking ahead, the OICCI is positive about substantial growth in the FDI, in addition to CPEC investment, due to competitive advantage to Pakistan supported by a more focused approach by the Government towards growth-oriented economic and trade policies.

The need to continue aggressive documentation of the economy to broaden the tax base will significantly strengthen the revenue base of the country.

Furthermore, there are immense opportunities to transform Pakistan into “Digital Pakistan” with the objectives to increase ease of doing business, enhance transparency, improve Govt2Govt, Govt2Citizen services, thereby encouraging longer-term investment into Services sector and export-oriented industries.

“The OICCI is committed”, Irfan Wahab concluded, “to support the government in managing many of the challenges through active engagement and support on many fronts including standing up for Pakistan at international and national forums to share the success stories and experience of its members.

On September 11th, OICCI had an interactive session with diplomats from 35 countries represented at OICCI, giving a comprehensive overview of the experience and opportunities for foreign investors in Pakistan.”

"Monitoring Desk"

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