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SAZH-TAF Report on FDI

Political - Board of Investment

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Strengthening BOI

The issue of political stability runs much deeper and is much more nuanced than any one individual and solution. Therefore, attempting to answer it would be reducing the complexity of it. During the Round Table, it became clear that our members from the private sector looked often to the Board of Investment for solutions. While it was agreed by our members that exercising control over the politics of the land would be impractical, what could happen was that the Board of Investment, the nexus of investment in Pakistan from all over the world, be given “teeth.” The BOI was made under the Ordinance of 2001, and it works under the PM Office. BOI is a strong board which is critical and could be used to improve Governance.

 

In essence that would mean enhancing the powers available to the BOI to refine and decide investment policy by having a coordination/liaison system with the private sector, as happened during our Round Table. Instead of just issuing letters of support as it does now, the One-Window Facilitation of the BOI be improved and enhanced, with the BOI playing a more active role.

 

Consistent Policy Advocacy through BOI

The issues highlighted above, such as inconsistent policies, would then be addressed by having the BOI act as the nexus through which concerns about policies changes or shifts, and their impending consequences could be communicated.

 

Additionally, we spoke to multiple corporate lawyers who highlighted that consistent policies are crucial for FDI. They stressed the need to map the federal, provincial, and local stakeholders attached to different industries including Telecom, Textile, Pharmaceuticals, Power, etc. and that all these stakeholders must also be directed to actively engage with each other for better coordination. Stability also means that these stakeholders are synchronized, and they should make regular efforts to remain synced.

 

Investment Guides

The BOI currently suffers from outdated information on its website, as shared by our legal experts. The low-hanging fruit thereby is to simply consolidate and update the information available in various sectors into one nexus point which would be the BOI.

 

Another expert shared that the mapping of all relevant stakeholders that needs to take place, should be done through BOI and upon completion of these guides they should be made available on the BOI’s website as vital information to investors willing to venture into a particular industry such as power, telecom, pharmaceutical, etc.

 

One-Window Facilitation

As per our Round Table experts, as there is no one-window system in Pakistan, there are inconsistent policies, incorrect market feedback and a lot of interference from different parties involved. The BOI can facilitate this and connect the investor with the relevant ministry, yet it must rely on our Liaison and Coordination Network for the same. The federal board of investments headed by a federal minister does not have executive authority which is a problem. If someone has a joint venture with a Chinese cement manufacturer and he wants to set up a small apartment, the BOI cannot permit him, at most the board can give him a letter of support which does not mean anything. That investment facilitation window is not empowered; it only has a ceremonial role. It must be given a legal cover by making a policy framework for it.


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