THE delegation of Saudi investors which recently visited Pakistan was a ray of hope for the country as foreign direct investment (FDI) in Pakistan has dwindled in the last many years. There is hope that different sectors of the national economy will stand to gain as we move forward.

The government should look into the prevalent investment scenario for the locals as well. It does not show a rosy picture currently. The ground realities are that Pakistani entrepreneurs are shifting their industries to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh due to heavy input costs of electricity, natural gas, deteriorating law and order situation, irrational tax regime and a high rate of interest.

In addition, the local industry has to deal with more than 30 government departments in order to be able to operate smoothly. If local investors are facing such a precarious operational situation, foreign investors will surely think twice before making strategic investment decisions. It is time to have a detailed analysis of the cost of doing business in Pakistan compared to other regional countries to provide level playing field to prospective investors.

Zafar Iqbal
Lahore

Published in Dawn, May 25th, 2024

Opinion

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