Skip Navigation LinksHome > Info Center > View News

A perfect time to invest in Pakistan


4/12/2019

 

A perfect time to invest in Pakistan

Pakistan is rapidly gaining investors’ attention for a variety of reasons. The country has successfully managed to overcome the security challenges, the infrastructure has significantly improved, connectivity with Western China is in final stages, a new deep-sea port is being developed and the long-term economic outlook remain positive. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan is leading the reforms to facilitate investors and to ensure Ease of Doing Business. Recently, Pakistan has announced transformational visa reforms by introducing E-Visa facilities to most of the countries. It is pertinent to note that Pakistan has a fantastic landscape and a strategic location right at the confluence of South Asia, Central Asia, Northwest China and West Asia. With the current positive developments and government’s focus on inviting private investments in key sectors, many of Pakistan’s bilateral ties around the world are shifting from transactional relationships to mutually beneficial economic partnerships.

 

Pakistan is already connected to Western China through the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) under the umbrella of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), and in the next 10 years this connectivity will expand to Eurasia. In addition to its huge market size of about 207 million people, this connectivity will double Pakistan’s access to a vibrant regional market. With an outlay of more than $60 billion under CPEC, huge investments are underway in infrastructural projects i.e. roads and highways, gas and oil pipelines and terminals, port development, shipping, airports, railways, logistics management, energy and power. Besides, a pro-business investment policy remains a central plank of Pakistan’s investment strategy which arranges for 100% equity ownership, full repatriation of capital, tax breaks, and customs duty concessions on the import of plant machinery and raw materials. Moreover, five out of nine planned Economic Zones are being fast tracked to facilitate Industrial Cooperation with efficient infrastructure and one-window facility administered by the Board of Investment (BOI), Islamabad.

 

BOI has received concrete investment proposals from local and foreign investors. Some of the key countries including Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar and Malaysia have shown keen interest to invest in Pakistan’s priority sectors having immense potential for investment: (1) Agro-based Food & Industry; (2) Value added Textile; (3) Tourism; (4) IT sector; (5) Light Engineering; and (6) Logistics. Additionally, Pakistan’s economic partnership with Saudi Arabia has taken a transformational turn with the recent Saudi decision to invest $20 billion in large-scale infrastructure and private industrial ventures. Furthermore, both countries agreed to work on long term capital investments to address the structural weaknesses in Pakistan’s economy and to help Saudi Arabia diversify its investments in the region.

 

The BOI team aims to include Pakistan in the list of top 100 economics in Ease of doing Business (EoDB) by 2020. A close coordination mechanism is being developed with the Foreign Missions abroad to increase the influx of investments in Pakistan. To facilitate UK and other local and foreign investors, the BOI has established a dedicated unit with the aim to facilitate investors in materializing their projects in Pakistan in a transparent, timely and efficient manner. Also, the one window concept has been embodied by the BOI and company registration time has been reduced to just four hours to expedite investor facilitation.

 

The government of Pakistan is committed to strengthening its long-term economic ties with the United Kingdom. With sound institutional framework in place and the unwavering commitment of the Pakistani government to protect and encourage foreign investments, the confidence of present and potential investors in Pakistan is increasing.

 

Many multi-nationals operating in Pakistan have affirmed that their experience in Pakistan has been exceptionally rewarding. There are immense opportunities for the UK private sector in Pakistan, especially in the fields of telecommunication, energy, infrastructure and agriculture sectors. Given a long history with between the two great nations, Pakistan intends to go beyond the traditional relations with the UK and develop close and intensive business-to-business ties.

 

Haroon Sharif is Minister of State and Chairman Board of Investment, Pakistan