BoI unveils three year Investment Promotion Strategy, aims to take FDI to $5bn by 2023

ISLAMABAD: The Board of Investment (BOI) on Thursday unveiled an Investment Promotion Strategy for the three year period 2020 to 2023 announcing a Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) target of Rs5 billion by 2023.

As per the strategy, the FDI target for 2020-21 stands at $4 billion, $4.5 billion for 2021-22, and $5 billion for 2022-23.

The Investment Promotion Strategy was launched at a seminar organised by BoI in collaboration with the World Bank (WB), International Finance Corporation and the Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom. The Sixth Ease of Doing Business Reform Action Plan was also launched on the occasion.

As per the strategy, the BoI also aims to generate a minimum of 50 new leads tracked in the board’s newly introduced Investment Relation Management System (IRMS), out of which the board anticipates that ten leads will result in investments amounting to $200 million during the next year.

The investment strategy also includes priority sectors which have been selected through a structured sector scanning process. The priority sectors include food and beverages, auto and auto parts, Information Technology (IT) and IT-enabled services, logistics and value-added textiles.

These sectors were selected on a multi-dimensional criteria, based on comparative and competitive advantage, employment generation capability, import substitution, export potential and global outward FDI trends.

The Investment Promotion Strategy provides a comprehensive investment cycle consisting of policy advocacy, market research, investment facilitation, promotion, protection and after-care services.

An important element of the strategy is the branding of Pakistan as an investment-friendly destination for investors.

Speaking on the occasion, BoI Secretary Fareena Mazhar explained that the new investment promotion strategy focuses on proactively engaging investors in priority sectors and ensuring that BOI provides the support and facilitation services needed to assist them with their investments. Supporting existing investors to solve regulatory and other issues is a key part of BOI’s commitment to serve investors in Pakistan, she said.

She lauded the efforts of various federal and provincial departments for improving the business environment in the country, and specifically mentioned Pakistan Regulatory Modernisation Initiative (PRMI) and emphasised that every province has its own comparative and competitive advantage and providing enabling business environment is the key to making good use of this advantage.

While referring to excellent coordination between federal and provincial governments of Sindh and Punjab, the BoI secretary said that it has become a successful model of collaboration and would be replicated in other federating units as well for the benefit of the whole country.

Sindh Investment Department Director Qurat-ul-Ain while speaking on the occasion stated that the provincial government is keen to improve the business environment in the province and informed that the Sindh Doing Business Reforms Council (SDBRC) has already been actively working in this regard.

She informed that a dedicated Doing Business Reforms Implementation Unit has been coordinating with all the government functionaries, private sector organisations and all other related business stakeholders so that anyone who wants to start or run a business in Sindh, can easily get licenses, permits and other relevant permissions.

Punjab Planning and Development Secretary Imran Sikandar Baloch said that the Punjab government is striving hard to implement a comprehensive reform agenda. He said that obtaining a building permit has been simplified through electronic submission of applications and the integration of Water and Sanitation Agency (WASA) and Traffic Engineering and Transport Planning Agency (TEPA) with the Lahore Development Authority (LDA). He also intimated that a host of measures have been taken to facilitate registering of property and contract enforcement in Punjab.

World Bank’s Country Director for Pakistan Najy Benhassine appreciated the efforts of the federal government as well as Punjab and Sindh governments and said that the reform process needs a lot of efforts on the behalf of the public sector.

Improvement in Ease of Doing Business in Pakistan is the result of a collective and coordinated efforts by the federal and provincial governments over the last few years. This momentum needs to be sustained in the coming years for Pakistan to continue to make progress, he said.

IFC Principal Country Officer Shabana Khawar said that the new investment strategy owing to Covid-19 is a very timely process. Both the World Bank and IFC assured to continue their cooperation with the BOI and the provincial governments with an objective to improve the investment climate in Pakistan.

The Sixth Ease of Doing Business Reform Action Plan seeks to simplify registration for sales tax registration, online one-window facility of Sindh Building Control Authority, amendments in building bylaws of LDA, introduction of designated courts for commercial cases by LHC and the enactment of Corporate Rehabilitation Act 2018.

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Ghulam Abbas
Ghulam Abbas
The writer is a member of the staff at the Islamabad Bureau. He can be reached at [email protected]
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