KARACHI: Overseas investors in Pakistan have observed up to 94% decline in different crimes all over the country in 2017, according to the annual survey conducted by Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI).
Respondents of the OICCI security survey 2017 experienced a drop in the overall street crimes with a 69% reduction in minor crimes (like mobile and cash snatching) and 90% decrease in major street crimes (like car snatching).
In terms of serious crimes like abductions/hostage taking and extortion (bhatta) – respondents across Pakistan reported major reductions as compared to 2016, ranging from 94% decrease in Lahore, closely followed by the rest of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (93%) and Karachi (92%).
Security survey 2017 is conducted in June and highlights a positive movement in the OICCI members’ perception of the country’s security environment. This comprehensive security survey has been conducted every year since 2015. It reflects the foreign investors’ perception on the improving security environment in the country especially after the launch of 2013 Karachi operations.
OICCI members have reported significant improvement in confidence and comfort of their staff on security matters, which went up further after the 86% increase reported in the previous survey, as the staffs now feel even more comfortable in their everyday commute to/from the workplace.
More significantly, a noteworthy feedback from the latest OICCI security survey is that a higher number of expatriate business visitors have travelled to Pakistan in the past one year and most of the business related meetings are now being held within Pakistan. Prior to August 2013 these were conducted in other countries due to security concerns.
This is a strong indicator that Pakistan as a destination has improved on the security concerns map and that such foreign businessmen are being granted travel permissions for their visit to Pakistan from their respective embassies and travel security agencies.
An overwhelming 62% respondents reported substantial increase in the number of overseas visitors to Pakistan as compared to last year. The highest number of OICCI members’ foreign visitors was from European countries followed closely by visitors from Middle East, China, Singapore, USA and Japan.
The 2017 survey once again re-affirms that threats and security concerns have substantially reduced in Pakistan for all key stakeholders of businesses including OICCI members.
“The security environment has substantially improved not only for the survey participants, meaning foreign investors, but also for their customers, suppliers and employees,” said OICCI President Khalid Mansoor.
The 2017 OICCI security survey result mirrors the improved security environment all over Pakistan, especially in Karachi in comparison to the last year and greatly enhanced since the time prior to August 2013.
A significant majority of the respondents were confident that the general threats to business had reduced compared to last year and a look at the last survey in June 2016 echoed the improvement nation-wide with Karachi’s security situation being given the thumbs up by 89%, closely followed by Lahore and the rest of Punjab with 85% and 82%.
Overall, security survey 2017 feedback points to a clear appreciation by foreign investors of the various initiatives of the government and the security agencies in proactively tackling the security, law and order challenges which had serious repercussions on the image of the country as a safe destination for FDI, added Mansoor.
Encouraged by the significant improvement to date, the authorities are urged to maintain high level focus on further improving security, law and order to bring it on a par with the international standards in order to help boost inflow of FDI in addition to the CPEC investment planned for the country in the near term, according to a press release.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 18th, 2017.