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Say yes to foreign investment

Say yes to foreign investment

The government is appeared to be in a quandary as if it does not know how to respond to the investment offers from various countries. When Finance Minister Ishaq Dar says that Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, China and other countries are willing to invest in Pakistan, it is true to some extent. But the area of concern is how to respond to the offers when the country is reeling under the darkness of load shedding, multiple and complex tax regime and unprecedented bureaucratic hierarchy which is keeping the legacy of traditional red tap close to its heart. Pakistan is 26th largest economy in terms of purchasing power party and 44th in general index in the world. However, Dar believes the country will emerge as the 18th largest economy of the world in the next few years. There is no restriction in day dreaming. However, the fact of the matter is that the government has failed to revise and implement a standard operating system for the official machinery to rid the country of the anomalies of the colonial legacies.

The only ray of hope at the end of tunnel is $46 billion investment by China under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project. The foreign exchange reserves of the country have crossed $20 billion mark, security situation has improved and economy has been stabilized. Experts believe unless the government introduces structural reforms in the government departments, the cherished goal of economic prosperity will be hard to achieve. According to the finance minister, the government is focusing on the development of the economy, investment in the energy sector alongside working on a national action plan to flush out extremism and terrorism from the country. It is hoped that the economic corridor will prove to be a game changer not only for Pakistan, but also for the countries in the region. What immediately needs to do is to develop industrial areas adjacent to the corridor to attract foreign investment. The government has increased the tax recovery ratio from 3.3 percent to 18 percent while development funds have been increased to Rs 700 billion. Dar disclosed a fact that 22 international corporations which had left Pakistan due to poor conditions have started returning and it is hoped new investors will also find the country as an attractive destination for investment.

A new era of economic prosperity is knocking the door of Pakistan and the government must act in time. The nation has missed economic opportunities in the past, but it should not let the new opportunities wasted away and must lay ground for foreign investors without any delay.