Overseas International Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Rehan Shaikh
Overseas International Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Rehan Shaikh

Budget week is finally here, yet, there remain more questions, than answers. In the run-up to the tabling of the Finance Bill, Dawn is speaking to experts to seek their input on some of the more pressing challenges facing Pakistan’s economy and how they can be addressed. Pakistan’s economy.

Today, Rehan Shaikh, president of the OICCI, ruminates on what Pakistan can do to attract the big fish of foreign investment.

Q. How can the government provide international investors the enabling environment needed to attract foreign investment?

The biggest consideration for any investor is a stable macro-economic and political environment, which in turn, breeds consistency in policy frameworks. The government should work towards maintaining consistent and predictable policies, reducing political unrest, and ensuring smooth transitions of power. Macroeconomic stability, through prudent fiscal and monetary policies, is essential.

Q. What positive steps have been taken to stimulate economic growth and what more can be done?

Recent surveys by the OICCI have pinpointed services, manufacturing for export, agriculture and corporate farming, as potential attractions, for foreign investment. In addition to this, Information Technology, as well as renewable energy have emerged as sectors with a resource competitive advantage.

While the government has launched initiatives and offered incentives for these sectors, reaching full potential still evades us. To fully realise their potential, Pakistan must focus on improving regulatory frameworks, ensuring policy consistency and enhancing infrastructure to create a more investor-friendly environment

Q. How can foreign investors be incentivised to build human capital?

In my personal experience, building and investing in human capital does not need to be incentivized for foreign investors and/or corporations. They have an inherent interest in developing their human resources, as well as the communities where they conduct business.

Multinational corporations consistently implement structured programmes as part of their corporate social responsibility strategy. Strengthening these endeavours via favourable government policies will enhance the development of human capital, benefiting both investors, and the economy.

Published in Dawn, June 11th, 2024

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