‘No change in govt policy on foreign shareholding’

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  • PM’s advisor says govt will soon announce a new ‘Industrial Policy’ and ‘National Tariff Policy’ to promote ease of doing business

KARACHI: In a meeting with the members of Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI), Advisor to the Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood clarified the confusion caused by a recent statement by some authorities and confirmed that there is no change in government policy on 100pc foreign shareholding allowed in legal entities incorporated in Pakistan.

He said the government realised that it would need to provide more incentives to encourage multinational companies set up joint ventures with local partners. The advisor also emphasised the need for foreign investment in the manufacturing sector to promote value-added exports and import substitution.

Dawood assured that level playing field would be provided to all existing, as well as new local and foreign investors.

The OICCI members on the occasion shared issues including concerns on the effective protection of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) for trademarks, patents and copyrights. They also highlighted the need to make the Intellectual Property Organization Policy Board functional, as it has not met since late 2016.

The PM’s advisor assured the largest bloc of foreign investors in Pakistan that the government was highly focused on improving the ‘ease of doing business’ and was committed to going the extra mile in facilitating investment activities in the country.

In this regard, he referred to the recent economic reforms package announced by the finance minister and the BOI chairman’s recent media briefing highlighting various steps to facilitate small and medium enterprises and other businesses in the area of tax compliance, property registration and other aspects of EODB.

The adviser informed the participants that the government would soon announce a new ‘Industrial Policy’ and ‘National Tariff Policy’ in coordination with specific sectors. He added that the government was focused on improving interprovincial coordination.

The OICCI members shared their growing interest and optimism in the government’s efforts in creating a business-friendly environment and recommended that the government should provide clarity on the Special Economic Zones and revised Investment Policy to further accelerate foreign direct investment in the country.

Some OICCI members were extremely concerned on the growing abuse of Afghan Transit Trade Facility impacting the manufacturers in Pakistan. The advisor stated that the matter was already in the knowledge of the government authorities and some corrective actions would be taken in this regard soon.

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