Foreign investors doing businesses or making investments in Pakistan have appreciated the performance of law enforcement agencies (LEAs) in the main business centers of the country –Karachi and Lahore– for raising their security satisfaction profile and bringing them at par with other megacities in the region.
Commenting on the survey findings, Haroon Rashid, President Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) said:
The smooth and professional handling of the brazen attack on Pakistan Stock Exchange on June 29th, and restoring order within a very short time, is a testimony of the OICCI members’ confidence in the ability of the LEAs to professionally combat any threat to life and property in the country. Foreign investors are not deterred by isolated incidences and continue to take a holistic view of the operating environment, which, OICCI members perceive to be highly positive showing continuous improvement.
The improved and stable security situation played a pivotal role in attracting foreign investment in the country. The inflows of foreign direct investment stood at $2.4 billion in the eleventh month of the financial year 2020, recording handsome growth of over 90 percent year-on-year.
Annual Security Survey 2020
OICCI, the largest chamber in terms of economic contribution and representing the top 200 foreign investors in Pakistan, has released the results of its latest Annual Security survey 2020, covering feedback on the security environment from July 2019 to June 2020.
The survey respondents included CEOs and senior management of member organizations of the OICCI’s 200 members, who belong to 35 countries and operate in 14 key sectors of the economy in Pakistan. Over two-thirds of the OICCI members have their head offices in Karachi with operations all over the country. The survey was conducted from May 15th till June 22nd.
OICCI 2020 Security Survey indicates that the foreign investors, overall, are impressed with further improvement in the security environment over the past twelve months, since July 2019, especially in Karachi and Lahore, with a noticeable improvement in other business centers as well.
While giving an assessment of the overall security situation, 60% of the respondents have reported an improved security environment for their own and Customer’s Business, as well as for their respective suppliers and employees.
Irfan Siddiqui, OICCI Vice President pointed out:
This improvement is over and above the already improved security environment last year, and the continuous improvement recorded in the OICCI members’ annual security surveys since 2015. It is highly encouraging that despite many disruptions during the past twelve months, due to Azadi March in December 2019, border tension with India during Q3 2019, and subsequent travel restriction since end March 2020 due to COVID 19, the visit of foreign nationals visiting Pakistan for OICCI members business, pre COVID 19, showed a healthy increase, as over 40 % respondents reported more visitors than last year, with 26% hosting more than 50 visitors and most respondents getting between 20 and 50 visitors.
The foreign business visitors were mainly from China, UK, USA, UAE, as well as other European and Asian countries.
Impacts of Improved Security
Due to the sustained improvement of the security environment, OICCI members reported that over 90% of the board and management meetings of their Pakistan business operations, involving HQ and/or Regional Management, were held within the country.
In terms of serious crimes, 87% of respondents indicated a decrease over last year in Karachi and Lahore. However, the survey respondents have expressed concern about the increasing trend of street crimes. All in all, 37% of respondents in Karachi and 27% in Lahore reported concern about increasing street crimes. According to the results, Islamabad experienced the lowest increase in street crimes among the key business centers.
There was also a thumbs up for the LEAs as, by and large, the foreign investors were satisfied with the performance of Law Enforcement Agencies, with over 90% expressing satisfaction in their interactions with Karachi and Lahore Police, Sindh Rangers, Punjab Police, CPLC and 84% for Sindh Police.
OICCI Security survey is very comprehensive and gives detailed feedback of a large number of foreign investors operating in Pakistan on various aspects of doing business connected with security and its impact on their operation which is regularly sought by diplomats and security professionals.