ISLAMABAD, Aug 27 (APP): Federal Secretary Board of Investment (BOI) Fareena Mazhar on Thursday expressed optimism that better and conducive business climate would be instrumental to improve investment and growth in the country.
She emphasized the importance of strengthening BOI’s efforts to promote investment in Pakistan.
Secretary BOI said this while addressing a seminar on “Doing Business Reforms in Pakistan” and launching of “6th Ease of Doing Business Reform Action Plan’’ and BOI’s “Investment Promotion Strategy 2020-2023” here.
The seminar was organized by the Board of Investment (BOI), in collaboration with the World Bank, International Finance Corporation and Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom.
Fareena Mazhar said that BOI’s new investment promotion strategy focuses on proactively engaging investors in priority sectors and ensuring that BOI provides the support and facilitation services needed to assist them with their investments.
She said that supporting existing investors to solve regulatory and other issues is a key part of BOI’s commitment to serve investors in Pakistan.
She informed the participants that over the last 5 years Pakistan’s investment to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio on average is 15 %, whereas the average investment to GDP ratio of regional countries like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India and Thailand is around 25%.
Ms. Mazhar stated that the Government of Pakistan is fully committed to make Pakistan a business friendly destination.
Secretary BOI specifically mentioned Pakistan Regulatory Modernization Initiative (PRMI) and also highlighted that every province has its own comparative and competitive advantage and providing an enabling business environment is the key to make good use of this advantage.
While referring to excellent coordination between federal and provincial governments of Sindh and Punjab, Ms. Fareena Mazhar said that it has become a successful model of collaboration and would be replicated in other federating units as well for the benefit of the whole country and its citizens.
At the end, Secretary BOI along with representatives of DFID, government of Punjab, Government of Sindh and Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa launched the 6th Doing Business Reforms Action Plan and Investment Promotion Strategy.
The Additional Secretary BOI, MukarramJah Ansari highlighted the key reforms undertaken during this year and planned for the next year which include simple tax regime, online facilities with respect to construction permit and land registration.
Executive Director General BOI, Riffat Pervaiz, briefed the participants about the new investment promotion strategy 2023.
He said the new strategy is impact oriented and focused investor conceived market driven projects adding the strategy is devised to attract investors, facilitate their startups and nurture their long term expansion and linkages.
Secretary Planning and Development, Punjab Imran Sikandar Baloch, stated that the
Government of Punjab is striving hard to implement a comprehensive reform agenda.
Baloch siad that obtaining a building permit has been simplified through electronic submission of applications and integration of WASA and TEPA with LDA.
He also intimated that a host of measures have been taken to facilitate Registering Property and contract enforcement in Punjab.
World Bank Country Director for Pakistan, Najy Benhassine stated that the reform process needs a lot of efforts on behalf of the public sector.
“I am quite impressed noting the 39 position jumps in Ease of Doing Business ranking in the last two years” he said.
He highlighted that improvement in Ease of Doing Business in Pakistan is the result of collective and coordinated efforts by the Federal and Provincial Governments of Sindh and Punjab over the last few years.
The World Bank Country Director said that this momentum needs to be sustained in the coming years for Pakistan to continue to make progress.
Principal Country Officer, International Finance Corporation Pakistan Ms. Shabana Khawar, congratulated BOI and other relevant agencies for a big achievement in Ease of Doing Business.
She emphasized on the vital role of BOI in attracting investment for the country.
She was of the view that the new investment strategy owing to COVID-19 is a very timely process.
Both World Bank and IFC assured to continue their cooperation with BOI and the provincial government with an objective to improve the investment climate in Pakistan.