KARACHI  - Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) has shared the results of its Business Confidence Index (BCI) survey Wave 9 conducted throughout the country during September 2014.

At 1 percent positive, overall BCI score remained the same as Wave 8, results of which were announced in March 2014. On the other hand, BCI of the manufacturing sector declined 7 percent from positive 12 in March to 5 percent in Wave 9. This decline was partially offset by an uptick in BCI of the services sector which improved from negative 3 percent to positive 7 percent in the current survey.

Though business confidence cumulatively showed a positive trend in the last six months, overall confidence level of OICCI members, representing foreign investors, revealed a marked decline from 31 percent in March to 16 percent in the latest survey. Going forward, business confidence for the next six months remains largely negative except for the services sector that expects a better business environment, the survey suggests. While 54 percent of the businesses expect their operations to remain static over the next six months, only 30 percent expect an increase. This is similar to the expectations in the March survey.  Commenting on the survey results, President, OICCI Asad S. Jafar, said it was encouraging to note positive sentiment across the business community despite political uncertainty. Jafar added, however, that this positivity teeters on the border line, posing a serious challenge to federal and provincial authorities to focus on good governance and create an enabling business environment. This coupled with the dismal level of current first quarter Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), as reported recently by State Bank of Pakistan, should be a key concern for the Government.  Jafar also expressed concern at the major drop in the confidence level of OICCI members and said the organisation will continue to work closely with authorities to resolve bottlenecks encumbering investment.

Conducted through field interviews in all four provincial capitals, Islamabad and key business towns across the country, the survey covers feedback from representatives of all business segments in Pakistan, covering roughly 80 percent Gross Domestic Product. The survey is based on feedback from manufacturing (46pc), services (29pc) and the retail and wholesale trade (25pc) sectors.