LAHORE             -        The international perception of Pakistan had improved in financial year 2018-19 as compared to the last year, reveals a survey conducted by the American Business Council (ABC).

Over 59 per cent of the respondents indicated improvement in country’s perception as against 57% during the last fiscal year.

The survey allowed ABC members to rate their satisfaction on various economic, regulatory and political factors that affected the performance and growth of business over FY18-19. The business climate was rated on each of the various factors influencing it; including economy, implementation and consistency of government policies, political climate, law and order.

Of these factors the economy and implementation of policies were rated as being unsatisfactory by over half of the survey participants and 75% of the respondents had marked increasing costs ie. utilities , duties and taxes  as being the biggest challenge  affecting business operations adversely.

However, a positive indicator is that over 90% of the respondents were optimistic about the long term (2+ year) economic and operating climate.

The survey also revealed the optimism of American Investors with over 40% of the respondents marking Pakistan being one of the many destinations for near term global investment plans and quite a few marking Pakistan as being a top priority for future investment.

American Business Council of Pakistan President Mr Adnan Asad, said: “I am very optimistic about the future of the country, after a very long time the country is spearheaded by an honest, committed and hardworking leader.

“The first year was geared towards correcting the course and putting Pakistan on track. The country had to pay for it by way of price hikes, inflation and extremely high interest rates,” he added.

“I foresee 2020 as a stable year with the economy settling down and the business environment improving and normalizing. All economic indicators show a positive and optimistic picture, law and order is at its best, the government is striving to implement its policy of ‘Ease Of Doing Business’,” said President ABC. “We need to be patient and provide all support to the government to succeed so that we are classified as a developing first world country,” he added.

ABC is one of the largest investor groups in Pakistan with 65 members which contribute a sizeable amount to the national exchequer every year as direct and indirect taxes – last year the members contributed Rs 109 billion and exported goods worth Rs 40.64 billion. They employ over 130,000 people directly and indirectly employ nearly one million people through their networks of agents, distributors, contractors etc