Investors offered red carpet in place of red tape

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ISLAMABAD : The government will pursue the investment policy initiated by the previous government while reprioritising some areas, with the ‘red carpet’ replacing ‘red tape’ for investors, said Mohammad Zubair, Chairman, Board of Investment (BoI), here on Wednesday.


Talking to newsmen, he explained his vision and plan of action to restore confidence of investors to pull up the investment graph.


Talking about his approach, he said that the mindset of the administration has to be changed to facilitate private sector.


Citing an example of red tape, he said that the JS Group succeeded in buying some shares of Hong Kong Shanghai Bank through open bidding, but because of bureaucratic hurdles after a lapse of 15 months, the transaction could not be completed.


Under the envisaged plan, an annual calendar would be developed for road-shows, visits of investors besides mobilising commercial counselors in Pakistani missions abroad to initiate interactions with investors so as to attract them to make investments in Pakistan.


He informed that during the fiscal year 2013-14 the government would target inflow of foreign direct investment to the tune of $2.5 billion so that FDI stock touches 20pc of the GDP.


The BoI chairman said that the inflow of FDI in 2007 was $5.4bn which came down to $820m in 2011 to crawl up to $1.4bn in 2013.


He stated that the government would adopt a zero tolerance policy for processing of investment related cases. The government is forming a committee to deal with the hierarchy of lean organisations and streamline the process.


Mr Zubair said that over the past few years due to hostile environment capital flew out of Pakistan, the trend that the current government is determined to reverse.


In reply to a question, Mr Zubair said that the process to finalise the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) with the United States would be initiated this week. He is meeting US embassy officials on Thursday to open the BIT chapter.


“As far as the treaty with Pakistan is concerned, the US government is ready to sign, but Pakistan has some reservations on which further discussions are necessary,” he said.


About the privatisation of public sector entities, the BoI chairman disclosed that a board had been set up at the prime minister’s office to evaluate the entities which are in line for privatisation.


Mr Zubair, who is a member on the board, hoped that the evaluation process would take not more than a few months to complete.


However, he said some of the units would be restructured before being privatised.


“We have to restructure these units in such a way so as to attract the buyers,” he said.

Courtesy:  Dawn

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