The Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI)’s 2017 annual security survey, which was conducted in June 2017, highlights a positive movement in the OICCI members’ perception of the country’s security environment.
This comprehensive security survey is conducted every year since 2015. It reflects the foreign investors’ perception of the improving security environment in the country especially after the launch of 2013 Karachi operations.
The 2017 security survey respondents experienced a reduction in the overall street crimes with a 69 per cent reduction in petty crimes, i.e. mobile and cash snatching, and 90 per cent decrease in the higher intensity street crimes like car snatching.
In respect of serious crimes like abductions/hostage taking and “Bhatta” demands: respondents across Pakistan reported major reductions as compared to 2016, ranging from 94 per cent decrease in Lahore, closely followed by rest of Punjab and KPK (93 per cent) and Karachi (92 per cent).
OICCI members have reported significant improvement in the confidence and comfort of their staff on security matters which had gone up further after the 86 per cent increase reported in the previous survey, as the staff now feels even more comfortable in their everyday commute to/from the workplace.
More significantly, a noteworthy feedback from the latest OICCI security survey is that a higher number of expatriate business visitors have travelled to Pakistan in the past one year, and most of the business related meetings are now being held within Pakistan, which prior to August 2013, were conducted in other countries due to security concerns.
This is a strong indicator that Pakistan as a destination has improved on the security concerns map and that such foreign businessmen are being granted travel permissions for their visit to Pakistan from their respective embassies and travel security agencies.
An overwhelming 62 per cent respondents reported a substantial increase in the number of overseas visitors to Pakistan as compared to last year.
The highest number of OICCI Members’ foreign visitors to Pakistan, was from European countries, including UK, followed closely by visitors from the Middle East, China, Singapore, USA and Japan.
Commenting on the survey findings, OICCI President Khalid Mansoor said, “The 2017 survey once again re-affirms that threats and security concerns have substantially reduced in Pakistan for all key stakeholders of businesses including OICCI members. The security environment has substantially improved not only for the survey participants, meaning foreign investors but also for their customers, suppliers, and employees.”
The 2017 OICCI security survey result mirrors the improved security environment, all over Pakistan, especially in Karachi in comparison to the last year and greatly enhanced since the time prior to August 2013.
A significant majority of the respondents were confident that the general threats to the business had reduced vis a vis last year. A look at the last survey in June 2016 echoed the improvement nation-wide with Karachi security situation being given the thumbs up by 89 per cent, closely followed by Lahore and rest of Punjab with 85 per cent and 82 per cent.
“Overall, OICCI 2017 security survey feedback points to a clear appreciation by the foreign investors of the various initiatives of the government and the security agencies in proactively tackling the security, law and order challenges which had serious repercussions on the image of the country as a safe destination for FDI” concluded Khalid Mansoor.
Encouraged by the significant improvement to date, the authorities are urged to maintain high-level focus on further improving security, law, and order to bring it at par with the international standards in order to help boost inflow of FDI in addition to the CPEC investment planned for the country in the near term.
OICCI is the largest chamber of commerce in terms of economic contributions in Pakistan.
The nearly 200 OICCI members contribute about a third of the country’s total tax collections, invested $ 2.2 billion last year in new investments and employ about one million people with a significantly larger contribution to the socio-economic development of the community through their substantive CSR initiatives.