LAHORE: The government should introduce structural reforms in every sector of the economy to improve business friendly image of Pakistan and make it an attractive destination for foreign investment.
These views were expressed by Mian Muhammad Nawaz, the chairman of the Standing Committee on Foreign Investment and Privatization and executive member of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the other day.
Talking to Customs Today, he said that there was a need take bold decisions to increase investment and promote exports. He said that the governments around the world introduced a broad range of reforms during yesteryears to improve regulatory environment for local entrepreneurs.
“The ease of doing business index contains lessons for the developing countries like Pakistan to improve its ranking,” he said, adding that Pakistan’s low ranking in the index should be a matter of concern for the government.
The government has launched development projects in energy and infrastructure sectors by acquiring foreign loans, but there is also need to attract foreign direct investment, he said.
“The foreign direct investment acts as an engine of growth and generates employment opportunities,” he said, adding that there is a need to arrest the falling exports which is severely depleting the country’s foreign exchange reserves. He added that the country is so far been relying on the remittances sent by the expatriate Pakistanis.
He said that Pakistan is the only South Asian country to have improved its overall ease of doing business ranking this year but it is still ranked 144th out of 190 countries. With a series of far reaching reforms in recent years, Pakistan has made trading across borders easier by introducing a fully automated, computerized system for the submission and processing of export and import documents, he explained.
He added the ten economies highlighted by the World Bank this year for making the biggest improvements in their business regulations include Brunei, Kenya, Indonesia, Georgia and the UAE. While Pakistan has been praised for improving infrastructure and streamlining procedures such as introducing a new electronic platform for customs clearance, it is still considered a low middle income, and ranked quite low overall, Nawaz said.
All economies around the world have taken steps to improve the business environment. In Bangladesh, it now analyses the business regulations in Chittagong and Dhaka; in India, in Delhi and Mumbai; and in Pakistan in Lahore and Karachi.
He said that the government needs to undertake massive economic, legal and administrative reforms and bold decisions to make Pakistan attractive for investment and promote exports besides Pakistan needs to move quickly to improve its business friendly image.
In order to attract foreign investment in the country the government also needs to reform taxation system of the country besides business friendly policies would not only increase business activities in at the local level but also the foreign investors will also invest in the country, Nawaz concluded.