ISLAMABAD, July 3: The Board of Investment (BoI) has proposed to the prime minister that the National Industrial Parks, Engineering Development Board and the Export Processing Zone Authority be placed under its administrative control since these also have the mandate similar to BoI to promote investment and industrial development in the country.
BoI Chairman Saleem H. Mandviwalla, while presenting a comprehensive strategy to attract inflow of foreign direct investment and focusing on one-window operation, also wanted that the federal ministries and provinces be instructed to quickly respond to BoI queries concerning investment opportunities in provinces.
The BoI should also be a member on the boards of directors of all public sector entities where FDI is involved for its smooth flow, Mr Mandviwalla proposed.
Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, who was present during the presentation, called upon the BoI to prepare a roadmap which should be vigorously pursued by inducting highly qualified professionals in BoI who could understand the dynamics and imperatives of the role of foreign investment in the country’s economy.
Mr Mandviwalla informed the prime minister that the BoI was currently negotiating business investment treaties (BITs) with 12 countries, including the US, China, while a similar exercise had also been initiated to have BIT with 11 more countries.
Presiding over the meeting, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf said that procedures to attract foreign direct investment be simplified, and also stressed that local investors be also given incentives to play their due role in national economy.
The prime minister stated that Pakistan has a liberalised economy and it offers equal treatment to local and foreign investors, and most of the sectors are open for foreign investment under complete legal protection.
Due to its rich resource potential, Pakistan is a preferred destination for foreign investors, he said.
He further said that there were numerous opportunities for foreign investors, especially in engineering, power, horticulture and manufacturing. Pakistan is among the middle income countries and presence of a large middle class provided vast local market to the new and expanding business. These facts about Pakistan be aggressively projected to enhance FDI inflows in the country, the prime minister stressed.
He said that efforts of BoI for speedy resolution of investors’ problems would enhance their confidence and give positive signals to foreign investors.
Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf said despite challenges in the recent past, country’s economy remains resilient to global economy meltdown. In spite of devastating floods in 2010 and rains in 2011 in Sindh, coupled with internal and external security environment of the country, our exports amounted to $25.439 billion in 2010-11 and are expected to grow further.
Currently, the economy is in dire need of rapid and consistent growth rate. The dynamic role of private sector can restore health of economy and help accelerate its pace in the light of its vast and rich potential, he said.
Federal Ministers Makhdoom Amin Fahim and Anwer Ali Cheema, Adviser on Petroleum Dr Asim Hussain, Minister of State Abbas Khan Afridi and Nadeem-ul-Haq, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission were also present during the BoI briefing.