ISLAMABAD             -         Foreign investors have shown satisfaction on the fast improving security environment and have also appreciated the performance of law enforcement agencies (LEAs) in the main business centres of Pakistan, Karachi and Lahore.

Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI), the largest chamber in terms of economic contribution and representing top 200 foreign investors in Pakistan, has released the results of its latest Annual Security survey 2020, covering feedback on the security environment from July 2019 to June 2020.

OICCI 2020 Security Survey indicates that the foreign investors overall are impressed with further improvement in the security environment over the past twelve months, since July 2019, especially in Karachi and Lahore, with noticeable improvement in other business centres as well. While giving assessment of the overall security situation, 60 per cent of the respondents have reported improved security environment for own and Customer’s Business, as well as for their respective suppliers and employees.

The foreign business visitors were mainly from China, UK, USA, UAE, as well as other European and Asian countries. Due to the sustained improvement of the security environment, OICCI members reported that over 90 per cent of the Board and management meetings of their Pakistan business operations, involving HQ and/or Regional Management, were held within the country.

In terms of serious crimes, 87 per cent respondents indicated a decrease over last year in Karachi and Lahore. However, the survey respondents have expressed concern on the increasing trend of street crimes. All in all, 37 per cent respondents in Karachi and 27 per cent in Lahore reported concern on increasing street crimes. According to the results Islamabad experienced the lowest increase in street crimes among the key business centres.

There was also a thumbs up for the LEAs as, by and large, the foreign investors were satisfied with the performance of Law Enforcement Agencies, with over 90 per cent expressing satisfaction in their interactions with Karachi and Lahore Police, Sindh Rangers, Punjab Police and CPLC and 84 per cent for Sindh Police.

OICCI Security survey is very comprehensive and gives a detailed feedback of a large number of foreign investors operating in Pakistan on various aspect of doing business connected with security and its impact on their operation which is regularly sought by diplomats and security professionals.

The survey respondents included CEOs and senior management of member organizations, and was participated by 70 per cent of the OICCI’s 200 members, who belong to 35 countries and operate in 14 key sectors of the economy in Pakistan. It may be noted that over two third of the OICCI members have their head offices in Karachi with operations all over country. The survey was conducted from May 15th till June 22nd.

Commenting on the survey findings, OICCI President Haroon Rashid said “the smooth and professional handling of the brazen attack on Pakistan Stock Exchange on June 29th, and restoring order within a very short time, is a testimony of the OICCI members’ confidence in the ability of the LEAs to professionally combat any threat to life and property in the country”.

The OICCI President added “foreign investors are not deterred by isolated incidences and continue to take a holistic view of the operating environment, which, OICCI members perceive to be highly positive showing continuous improvement.’’

Irfan Siddiqui, OICCI Vice President pointed out that “this improvement is over and above the already improved security environment last year, and the continuous improvement recorded in the OICCI members annual security surveys since 2015”. He further added that “It is highly encouraging that despite many disruptions during the past twelve months, due to Azadi March in December 2019, border tension with India during Q3 2019, and subsequent travel restriction since end March 2020 due to COVID 19, the visit of foreign nationals visiting Pakistan for OICCI members business, pre COVID 19, showed a healthy increase, as over 40  per cent respondents reported more visitors than last year, with 26 per cent hosting more than 50 visitors and most respondents getting between 20 and 50 visitors”.

OICCI, is the largest Chamber of Commerce in Pakistan based on economic contribution in the form of taxes and investment by its members and is the collective voice of over top 200 foreign investors in Pakistan, including over 50 Fortune 500 companies, who contribute about one third of the total tax collection in the country and a significant portion of the GDP.