Business forum raises concern as FDI nosedives 58%

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LAHORE: All Pakistan Business Forum (APBF) President Syed Maaz Mahmood has raised serious concern over the falling trend of foreign direct investment (FDI) into the country, which has plunged by over 58 percent during the first two months of the new fiscal year 2019-20.

The APBF president was of the view that drastic steps and robust political will could revive the economy so it could grow significantly and constantly while displaying a visible impact. Mahmood advocated the need for widening the country’s tax base in a bid to uplift tax-to-GDP ratio from its current poor level.

On a month-on-month basis, the FDI inflows in August declined by a massive 57.8 percent to $83.4 million from $198 million in August 2018. He advocated the need for raising the country’s tax base so that tax-to-GDP ratio improves from current poor level.

The State Bank of Pakistan’s data shows that slowdown of inflows from China have brought down the overall FDI figure, as inflows from Beijing during July-August fell to $28.9 million compared to $216 million whereas inflows during August clocked in at $33.4 million. United Kingdom emerged as the second leading investor in the country pouring $11.7 million, followed by UAE with $6 million and Malaysia $5.4 million.

The APBF official suggested the ministries devise strategies for promotion of Pakistani products calling upon trade officers to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

“Weak FDI data is a massive setback to the government, which has recently entered into the $6 billion reform programme led by the International Monetary Fund to avoid balance of payments crisis,” he said. “Government has taken several measures to curb imports but it has failed to enhance exports despite massive depreciation of the rupee against the US dollar.”

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