Reforms needed to be prioritized to attract, sustain FDI inflows: SBP


 ISLAMABAD: Reforms are needed to be prioritized to attract and sustain higher Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows into the country, according to State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) second quarterly report on the state of economy, released on Tuesday.

Except for the telecommunications sector, foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows were also about the same level as last year,” it said in a statement.

The Board of Investment (BOI) is the premier investment promotion agency of Pakistan working under the administrative control of the Prime Minister’s Office and is mandated to promote and facilitate both local & foreign investment.

Amid Prime Minister Imran Khan’s high expectation with the BoI to fetch more and more foreign investment in the country, three BoI chairmen have resigned. 

On March 20, the federal government appointed a board member of Shaukat Khanum Memorial Trust (SKMT) as Chairman BOI. The approval of Atif Bokhari as Chairman BOI was not included in the regular agenda items of the Federal Cabinet. However, the federal cabinet through circulation of summary approved his name as the new Chairman BoI on March 20, sources said.

March 9, 2020, Zubair Gilani, resigned from his office after serving as the chairman of the board for eight months. Gilani was the third BoI chairman who quit during the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government. Before him, Naeem Zamindar and Haroon Sharif had left the office.

An official of BOI said that the new chairman has yet to take charge of the office situated in Islamabad.

However, he has been chairing the internal meetings of the board members through video conference.  

The BOI has drafted an investment promotion strategy for financial year 2020-2024 in cooperation with World Bank, However, the consultation process has been suspended due to the onset of the coronavirus. 

Covid-19 has substantially impacted on the global economy, however, it is all the more difficult for countries like Pakistan to meet the challenges of such calamities, an official of Ministry of Finance on the condition of anonymity said.

He said that it is an unusual situation and the ministry is evaluating it on daily basis. The investment in such a situation when global economies are under lockdown is a challenging job, he added.

Pakistan is expecting investment by Chinese companies in the special economic zones (SEZs) under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) a major contributor to economic uplift of the country, however, the 5th meeting of the Joint Working Group (JWG) on Industrial cooperation and the 10th Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) meeting of CPEC which was scheduled in April 2020 has been postponed for an indefinite period. Last meeting of JWG was held in October 2019 through video conference, sources said.

The Board has further deferred ground breaking of Rashakai SEZ (KP), Dhabeji SEZ (Sindh) and Allama Iqbal Industrial City (AAIC), one of the CPEC SEZS that was inaugurated by Prime Minister Imran Khan on Jan 3, 2020.