In a meeting with members of Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI), Abdul Razak Dawood, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Commerce, cleared the confusion caused by a statement by some authorities. He confirmed that there is no change in government policy on 100% foreign shareholding for legal entities incorporated in Pakistan.
He further clarified that to encourage MNCs to set up JVs with local partners the government will need to give some incentives. The advisor also emphasized the need for large foreign investment in the manufacturing sector to promote value-added exports and import substitution. Dawood also assured that a level playing field will be provided to existing investors, as well as new local and foreign investors.
OICCI members’ shared issues with the Advisor, included concerns on the effective protection of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) for trademarks, patents’ and copyrights and to make the Intellectual Property Organization Policy Board functional as it has not met since late 2016.
The Advisor on Commerce and Investment assured the largest bloc of foreign investors in Pakistan that the Government of Pakistan, led by PM Imran Khan, is highly focused on improving Ease of Doing Business and is committed to going the extra mile to facilitate investment and commerce in the country.
In this respect, he referred to the recent economic reforms package announced by Minister of Finance on 23rd January and BOI Chairman’s recent media briefing highlighting various steps to facilitate SME’s and other businesses in the area of tax compliance, property registration and other aspects of Ease of Doing Business.
The Adviser also informed participants that the government will soon announce a new ‘Industrial Policy’ and “National Tariff Policy’, in coordination with each specific sectors and also assured that the GoP was focused on improving interprovincial coordination.
OICCI members shared growing interest and optimism in the government’s efforts to create a business enabling environment and recommended that the GOP should provide clarity on the Special Economic Zones and revised Investment Policy to further accelerate FDI in the country.
Some of the OICCI members were extremely concerned on the growing abuse of Afghan Transit Trade Facility impacting the manufacturers in Pakistan, which, the Advisor assured, was already in the knowledge of the government authorities.