For­eign in­vestors see im­prove­ment in se­cu­rity en­vi­ron­ment

The Pak Banker - - COMPANIES/BOSS -

Lead­ing for­eign in­vestors in Pak­istan show pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ence on se­cu­rity re­lated mat­ters and per­cep­tion of the se­cu­rity en­vi­ron­ment in the coun­try es­pe­cially af­ter the launch of the Karachi oper­a­tions and "Zarb-e-Azb" ini­tia­tives, said a sur­vey con­ducted for mem­bers of OICCI (Over­seas In­vestors Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try.

The over­all sur­vey re­sults were gen­er­ally quite pos­i­tive and re­vealed that the se­cu­rity en­vi­ron­ment all over Pak­istan, and es­pe­cially in Karachi, had im­proved sig­nif­i­cantly, dur­ing the pe­riod cov­ered in the sur­vey that is Jan­uary 1, 2014 to April 2015 as com­pared to the cor­re­spond­ing pe­riod dur­ing 2012-13. The sur­vey re­veals that 74% of the re­spon­dents ex­pe­ri­enced a re­duc­tion in se­cu­rity in­ci­dents and, most im­por­tantly, 73% re­sponded that their staff now feels more com­fort­able in their ev­ery­day com­mute to/from the work­place as com­pared to 2013. Sim­i­larly 68% of the re­spon­dents re­vealed that more over­seas/ex­pat visi­tors, in­clud­ing tech­ni­cal and pro­fes­sional staff, came to Pak­istan dur­ing Jan­uary 2014 to April 2015 as com­pared to the pre­vi­ous same pe­riod and that a very small num­ber of Board and man­age­ment meet­ings were held out­side Pak­istan. In a sim­i­lar sur­vey done in 2012 OICCI mem­bers had re­ported that a large num­ber of such meet­ings were held abroad for se­cu­rity rea­sons. A very high per­cent­age of the re­spon­dents re­ported that their em­ploy­ees now feel more se­cure in do­ing busi­ness and so­cial en­gage­ments all over Pak­istan.

The above re­sults should be con­sid­ered as thumbs up sig­nal of the for­eign in­vestors to the var­i­ous ini­tia­tives of the gov­ern­ment in tack­ling the se­ri­ous se­cu­rity, law and or­der sit­u­a­tion which had arisen in re­cent years. The OICCI sur­vey also high­lights con­sid­er­able room for im­prove­ment to make the en­vi­ron­ment even more se­cure so that the travel ad­vi­sory from var­i­ous diplo­matic sources should also change in line with the above per­cep­tion of the OICCI mem­bers. It may be worth re­peat­ing that the poor se­cu­rity, law and or­der is­sues have been amongst the ma­jor chal­lenges which have neg­a­tively im­pacted many as­pects of the coun­try's eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties, in­clud­ing a dras­tic fall in FDI in­flow into the coun­try, in­crease in cost of do­ing busi­ness due to large out­lays on se­cu­rity re­lated mat­ters and, more im­por­tantly, its im­pact on brain drain of tal­ented peo­ple from the coun­try. The need for a ro­bust se­cu­rity en­vi­ron­ment will be even more crit­i­cal in the com­ing months as a large num­ber of ex­pat work­ers and techni- cal staff will soon be com­ing to Pak­istan un­der the China-Pak­istan Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor (CPEC) projects. One of the key driv­ers for suc­cess of the CPEC would be a good, sus­tained se­cu­rity en­vi­ron­ment.

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