Lahore: The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry Wednesday expressed deep concern over 65 percent decline in Foreign Direct Investment and Portfolio Investment in the last nine months (July-March 2011-2012 period) and urged the government to tackle it on urgent basis through a comprehensive policy approach by involving Chambers of Commerce in the country.
In a statement issued here Wednesday, the LCCI President Irfan Qaiser Sheikh said that severest-ever energy shortfall, unclear economic policies, a serious law and order situation and institutional fragility were the major factors keeping the foreign investors away. The LCCI President said that if the country is losing charm for foreign investors then the government would have to take extraordinary measures to avoid its effects on local investors and country’s economic growth.
At the same time, the LCCI President said, the slow government response to deal with aggravating energy crisis was also spoiling not only the local investment scenario but also sending a very negative signal to potential foreign investors.
Irfan Qaiser Sheikh said that a special committee comprising private sector members should be formed to identify the solutions to attract foreign investment that is a prerequisite to economic growth. The LCCI President said that the proposed committee should also be tasked to look into the existing policy framework and if there is a need to redesign new policies and the committee should immediately initiate work on them.
Irfan Qaiser Sheikh said that all the developed countries accord special importance to economic issues and the challenges. But in Pakistan the situation is the other way round and the economy is on the bottom of government to-do list.
He said key issues including power shortage, poor infrastructure, law and order situation and other vital factors, should be addressed on priority basis to improve the bleak foreign investment condition to put the country on track of economic growth and development. “At the same time the government should ensure that all institutions remain immune to any sort of undue interference as this will help improve quality of governance without which foreign investment cannot be attracted.”
The LCCI President said that a number of sectors in Pakistan including infrastructure development, coal, energy, agriculture, livestock, textiles and pharmaceutical offer lucrative investment opportunities to foreign investors but unfortunately due to absence of a proper marketing strategy these opportunities are unattended even today.
It may be mentioned here that Pakistan’s investment rate was only 13.4 percent at end of last fiscal year, which was lowest since FY74. The low saving rate, coupled with wary foreign investors led to record low investment rate in the country.
The State Bank had already reported in its annual report that Pakistan had fared poorly when compared to its neighbours in South Asia, because of domestic and global factors.
For more information, contact:
Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI)
11-Shahrah-e-Aiwan-e-Tijarat, Lahore -54000, Pakistan
Tel: +9242 111 222 499
Fax: +92 42 636 8854