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Effective implementation of economic policies can make a big difference: BoI Chairman

ISLAMABAD: Without improving economic fundamentals of the country, the investment-to-GDP ratio cannot be improved in Pakistan, said Chairman Board of Investment Mohammad Zubair.

In an exclusive interview with Customs Today at his office just before his departure for UK, Germany and many other parts of the world to lure foreign investors for boosting investment in Pakistan, Chairman BoI said that there was no movement on signing Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) with USA. “Before moving ahead on this subject, we will evolve consensus among all relevant stakeholders,” he added.

He said that it was needed to focus upon areas of value addition which could turnaround the country’s economy. While analyzing potential of investment from Chinese investors, he said that Pakistan offered them to invest in few selected areas that could jump-start the sluggish economic activities in a big way.

It is relevant to mention here that foreign direct investments have been on the decline in Pakistan from last few years owing to security concerns as well as volatile macroeconomic condition.

The government is eyeing to lure Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to the tune of over $1 billion during the current fiscal year.

He said that he was making all-out efforts to transform this body on the pattern of corporate culture which could ensure one window facility for enhancing investment in Pakistan.

The investment in percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) declined massively in recent years as it nosedived from around 20 to 12 percent during the last five years.

According to newly-appointed Chairman, there was a dire need to bring paradigm shift in the working of the ministries/divisions as alone these efforts could help achieving turnaround on economic front in next three to five years period.

“If we ensure implementation on decisions in a timely manner, it can make a major difference for achieving the desired results,” he added.

When he was asked to comment on government’s envisaged target regarding ambitious privatization plan, he said that the Cabinet Committee on Privatization approved 31 units which would be privatized in first phase.

In order to attract foreign investors, he said, first of all there was an urgent need to encourage local investors which would pave the way for increasing foreign investment in the country.

In order to give confidence to investors, he said that the government would off-load shares of those banks which were already under the private sector management such as Habib Bank Limited, United Bank Limited and other such institutions.

Without bringing change in the mindset, the dream of transforming this country into destination of potential investors could not be materialized, he said, adding that the uncertainty about fate of future investment would result into shying away of potential investors.

There are different avenues available to investors and uncertainty on any account will not extend positive signal to investors, he maintained.

The Chairman BoI said that terrorist attacks and overall security situation was not in the domain of economic policy formulation but one thing could make a major difference and that was ensuring effective implementation of policies devised by the government.

Interviews 2013-11-06
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