LAHORE -  The OICCI has announced the results of the Business Confidence Index Survey conducted throughout the country in September/October 2016.

Overall Business Confidence Score (BCS) remains positive, but the positivity has declined from 36 percent in April 2016 to only 17 percent in the latest survey with a drop of 19 percent. The OICCI 2016 survey released in November shows decline in business confidence across all segments of the trade and industry. The respondents identified concern on energy, increase in prices, security, law and order, government policies, and regulations, decline in exports, negative impact of new tax laws and volatile political environment as some of the key issues.

Commenting on the BCI results, OICCI President Shahab Rizvi said, “Latest survey results, despite being significantly positive versus two years ago, represent a significant correction as compared to the previous April 16 BCS of 36 percent. Hence this should be taken as a key watch-out for the government. Part of this correction could be natural rebalancing of feelings with the euphoria of initial positivity cooling down. However, another part of this correction is driven by perceived and real concerns on taxation, inconsistency of policies, and management of security and energy issues. We believe that quick, decisive, and visible action from the government in these areas is needed to arrest potential decline in future surveys.”

The decline has been observed in Overall Business Confidence among all sectors in November 2016 survey. Manufacturing sector went down by 12 percent, Retail sector by 21 percent, while Services sector went down by a massive 28 percent.

The sentiments of the leading foreign investors, represented by the OICCI members, who were part of the survey, followed the drift and posted a lessening of 9 percent confidence to come down from 55 percent to 46 percent in the Wave 13 results.

Sectorial Business Confidence reflect that Automobile (42%), Financial services (37%), Food (25%), and Chemical (25%) as the most flourishing sectors followed by Transport & Communication (23%), Petroleum (22%), Non-Metallic (20%), and Retail and Wholesale (17%) sectors. However, Tobacco (-22%), Real Estate (8%) and Textile (8%) came out as the most conservative sectors in the latest survey.

Cities with positive outlook were Karachi (18%), Lahore (29%), Rawalpindi/Islamabad (22%), and Sialkot (12%), while Quetta (-14%), Faisalabad (1%), Multan (4%) and Peshawar (8%) have recorded a downward confidence level.

Going forward, the business confidence for the next six months is positive but considerably less bullish than the previous April 16 survey. Businesses are expecting to increase their employment in the next six months, but somewhat in lesser proportion compared to the last six months.