International Finance Corporation (IFC), the largest development organization working with the private sector in emerging markets, is working with Pakistan’s Board of Investment, BOI, in the push to attract investment and reduce the most immediate, short-term implications of COVID-19,  

Moves are now underway to target investors to key sectors in Pakistan’s economy including auto and auto part manufacturing, food and beverages, information technology, logistics and textiles, as part of a bid to spur new jobs and help in the recovery post COVID-19. 

It follows the recent launch of BOI’s Investment Promotion Strategy, centered on investor-targeting, generating reinvestment and linking foreign direct investment, FDI,  to the domestic private sector to help kick-start key sectors, and minimize business losses, lay-offs, and divestments. 

Secretary BOI Fareena Mazhar said, “Our new investment promotion strategy focuses on proactively targeting investors in priority sectors and ensuring that BOI provides the support and facilitation services needed to assist them with their investments. Supporting existing investors to solve regulatory and other issues is a key part of BOI’s commitment to serving investors in Pakistan.”

“The government of Pakistan has its full commitment to make Pakistan a business-friendly destination. Nearly 300 reforms have been implemented since 2006 to improve the investment climate in the country,” she added.

For its part, IFC in partnership with the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) is supporting implementation of the new strategy by building BOI’s capacity to target high-potential investors, improve its client focus, upgrade BOI’s website to make it a more useful tool for investment promotion, providing e-services and updating the legal framework to make investing in Pakistan more predictable. The objective is to see investment in Pakistan increase to USD $5 billion by 2023.  

“It’s vital at this time in a COVID-19 impacted world, to work together on ways to catalyze investments in key sectors of Pakistan’s economy  to help create new jobs, upgrade technology and help spur economic growth,” said Shabana Khawar, Principal Country Officer, IFC Pakistan. “With the new strategy and emphasis on proactive investor targeting in high-potential sectors, we can expect investment to increase during this recovery period.” 

BOI will establish an internal task force to focus on investor retention and reaching out to key investors to support them through this COVID-19 crisis period. The Investment Promotion Strategy is the first step towards a comprehensive road-map that will help BOI achieve its strategic goals and objectives over the next three years.