KARACHI - The ongoing political impasse will only add further uncertainty to the future outlook of the businesses in Pakistan, a speedy resolution is imperative to alleviate the growing concerns of the business community. This was expressed by the attendees of American Business Council (ABC) in the roundtable meeting of the year.

The attendees said that while the first half of FY 2014 had been good for business and majority of participants witnessed top-line growth, the last few months have been tumultuous and businesses remained cautious due to the prevalent political disturbance. General consensus among the attendees was that with the IMF having delayed its completion of 4th review amidst conditions, risk to continuation of economic agenda (privatisation etc) remains in case the political turmoil is long drawn-out.

ABC recently held its second quarterly Chief Executive Officer Roundtable meeting which was well attended by the member across a cross-section of sectors including healthcare, financial services, information technology, FMCG, food & beverage, pharmaceuticals, oil & gas and others.

President ABC Tauqir Ahmed welcomed the recent exchanges of views between American business and the government on strengthening and improving the effectiveness of intellectual property rights. He also lauded the efforts of the Finance Ministry to involve and consider the feedback of the private sector within the FY14-15 budgetary process.

While these are steps in the right directions, ABC President Tauqir Ahmed also recognised the challenges facing American business in Pakistan, citing issues which have caused great concern to investors including poor law and order, political uncertainty, energy shortages, a lack of a clarity on business policy and a poor enforcement of intellectual property (IP).

“Pakistan has an opportunity to grow its pharmaceutical industry, foster innovation and create competition. It’s in everyone’s interest to find solutions with the private sector. But that prospect is jeopardised when IP is jeopardised,” added Tauqir Ahmed. The outgoing US Consul General Michael J. Dodman and new CG Brain Heath were also invited to the roundtable. ABC has 65 members with cumulative revenues of over $4b and an investment of approximately $780m. The ABC members contribute a sizable amount to the national exchequer every year as direct and indirect taxes – last year the contribution was Rs 87b.