ISLAMABAD  -  Foreign investors on Wednesday emphasised the government to boost business confidence through policy announcements on matters relating to taxation, debt management, reform in FBR and measures to boost Foreign Direct Investment.

The Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI), a body of foreign investors in Pakistan, has hoped that the PTI led government will soon take some bold measures to put the economy on solid growth trajectory. President OICCI Irfan Wahab Khan in an informal interaction with media has said they submitted recommendations to Finance Minister Asad Umar to boost the FDI in Pakistan.

The OICCI has proposed the government to simplify the complex taxation system, including Customs and broadening the tax base through use of data and technology. "The new government should resolve Interprovincial Coordination issues, which is one of the major issues for the foreign investors in Pakistan," Khan said.

The OICCI has also recommended the government to boost export under a structured programme, especially of services sector. It has also proposed to review and revise Free Trade Agreements and Preferential Trade Agreement with other countries.

The OICCI has also shared key challenges to FDI with the media. The challenges included stability of government policies and its implementation, especially on taxation, pressure on Balance of Payment and resultant impact on currency and remittances, lack of focused attention in managing "Negative perception " of Pakistan, cost of doing business increasing and not competitive with the region and poor rating in World Bank's Ease of Doing Business.

The OICCI president has also shared the latest survey of OICCI members' investment in Pakistan and foreign investors perspective of the current situation and opportunities for investment growth. Commenting on the survey findings, OICCI President Irfan Wahab said that during 2017, despite a challenging and instable environment, OICCI members invested a record $2.7 billion in expanding their business footprint in Pakistan.  This is at par with the total new FDI received in the country during 2017-18. OICCI members' investment in 2017 was 20 percent higher than the previous year and was mainly in the Energy, Chemicals and Telecom sector". The survey was participated by 130 out of a total 190 members and reflected OICCI members total assets at $90 Billion with a 2017 revenue of over $36 Billion. Once again OICCI members emerged as the largest tax contributors in the country with a total contribution in excess of Rs one trillion.

Wahab added "the 2017 OICCI members survey re-affirms the confidence of existing foreign investors, who believe in the high economic and investment potential of Pakistan. OICCI Security survey conducted in June 2018 exclusively among the foreign investors has also confirmed significant improvement in the security environment in Pakistan supported by substantial increase in the number of overseas visitors since 2014 including staff from overseas Head quarters of leading MNC's."

Looking ahead, OICCI is positive about substantial growth in the FDI, in addition to CPEC investment, due to competitive advantage to Pakistan supported by a more focused approach by the Government towards growth oriented economic and trade policies. The need to continue aggressive documentation of the economy to broaden the tax base will significantly strengthen the revenue base of the country. Furthermore there are immense opportunities to transform Pakistan into "Digital Pakistan" with the objectives to increase ease of doing business, enhance transparency, improve Govt2Govt, Govt2Citizen services, thereby encouraging longer term investment into Services sector and export oriented industries.

"OICCI is committed", Irfan Wahab concluded "to support  the government in managing many of the challenges through active engagement and support on many fronts including standing up for Pakistan at international and national forums to share the success stories and experience of its members. On September 11th, OICCI had an interactive session with diplomats of 35 countries represented at OICCI, giving a comprehensive overview of the experience and opportunities for foreign investors in Pakistan."

OICCI is the largest chamber of commerce in Pakistan in terms of economic contributions. OICCI members employ around one million people and are leading stakeholders on the CSR front benefiting a very large population all over the country.