Governor State Bank of Pakistan Dr. Reza Baqir has said that reforms introduced to address the macroeconomic challenges faced by the economy are now beginning to bear fruit and an improvement in the external finances has become visible.
The governor expressed these views during an interactive session with leading foreign investors at the Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI), where he was accompanied by the senior leadership of the SBP.
Baqir said that restoring stability will promote investment in the country and will trigger economic growth. He noted that the bold measures taken recently were painful but necessary.
He elaborated that the average monthly current account deficit, which has been a prime concern for the economy, has halved, export volumes have been growing, non-borrowed foreign exchange reserves have stopped falling and have started growing. Baqir hoped that inflationary pressures would decrease from the second half of the current fiscal year.
President OICCI, Shazia Syed, Vice President OICCI, Shazad G Dada and Secretary-General OICCI, M Abdul Aleem, highlighted the significant economic contribution of foreign investors at OICCI, who are among the largest economic stakeholders and have invested over $13 billion in the past seven years. She said that OICCI members continue to have a positive view of the opportunities for investment despite the ongoing challenging economic environment in the country.
OICCI shared key highlights of its annual survey on remittances and complimented the governor that despite extreme pressure on the foreign reserves in the past twelve months, the SBP did not delay the remittance of profit, which was appreciated by foreign investors.
However, concerns on some other areas were raised and OICCI asked for the governor’s support for improving ease of doing business in Pakistan. OICCI presented a comprehensive list of recommendations to the SBP governor, which included proposals for doing away with additional approvals for remittances.
The governor appreciated the contribution of OICCI members to the national exchequer and announced various measures to further streamline the processes for improving ease of doing business. “SBP is moving towards digitalization and proactive engagement that will address the major issues systematically,” the governor said.
Baqir promised to consider various OICCI recommendations and agreed on the need for continuous dialogue with the OICCI members.