Investors oppose withdrawal of incentives

Argue these will help stimulate foreign investment in country

Our Correspondent September 15, 2020

Overseas investors have urged the government not to withdraw the incentives which are in the implementation phase in order to stimulate foreign investment in the country.

Speaking to Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance Abdul Hafeez Shaikh last week, Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) President Haroon Rashid proposed to the government to take a collective view of the relief measures to encourage foreign investment in Pakistan.

He called for appointing a focal ministry for streamlining the operating issues faced by the foreign investors.

He recommended that the government should ensure that the incentives offered to foreign investors, such as under Section 65 of the IT Ordinance 2001 which pertains to new investment, were not withdrawn while the respective projects were in the implementation phase.

The chamber also requested the leadership for a prompt settlement of the long-pending tax refund issue and resolution of the mounting circular debt problem.

Chamber officials were optimistic that the country could attract massive foreign direct investment by ensuring a predictable, consistent and transparent policy framework and its swift implementation.

Rashid highlighted the issues pertaining to delay in disbursement of sales tax refund as well as the hurdles faced by the country while attracting foreign direct investment.

The OICCI chief termed the launch of Roshan Digital Account for overseas Pakistanis a step in the right direction.

However, the foreign investors voiced concern over continuation of a high turnover tax, especially on the sectors earning high revenues but having low profit margins like petroleum and chemical businesses.

He added that OICCI members contributed roughly Rs5 billion to the national revenue every day.

He pointed out that the recent criminal incident on the Lahore-Sialkot motorway damaged the morale of stakeholders, who were otherwise satisfied with the highly improved security environment in Pakistan.

Meeting participants sought a review of the government’s recent announcement, which stated that investment in the national savings schemes would not be allowed to retirement funds after 2022. They, however, appreciated the government’s effort to successfully overcome the Covid-19 challenge and take appropriate measures for supporting the economy.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 15th, 2020.

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