CHAIRMAN Board of Investment (BOI) Saleem H. Mandviwala has praised the approval of Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Bill by the Parliament which would help attract foreign direct investment and encourage local investors as it provides legal cover to their investments. Addressing a press conference, Mr Mandviwala said the incentive package was approved in 2008 by the ECC but it remained under discussion for a long time.
We believe that the SEZ bill passage is a step in the right direction and would lure local and foreign investors as it provides adequate incentives to those interested to exploit Pakistan’s vast potential. Though there are some impediments and on top of them is propaganda against Pakistan due to isolated incidents of law and order or for that matter blasts, which have been blown out of proportion by the western media. There is also a propaganda through which the government is described as dysfunctional and Pakistan as a failed State which is negation of ground realities. We may point out that in every country, there are incidents of law and order but normal business goes on as we are witnessing in Pakistan. The country has a huge market with about 180 million people, majority of them middle class, having reasonable purchasing power. Many western companies like the Cell Phone, pharmaceutical, food processing and others are doing roaring business in the country and there are tremendous opportunities for investment particularly in products that are being imported. We are confident that the passage of the SEZ bill will help create an industrial cluster with liberal incentives, infrastructure, investor facilitation services to enhance productivity and reduce cost of doing business for economic development and poverty reduction. The SEZ bill also guarantees that the incentives once granted would not be withdrawn due to conflict of interests. We are confident that the BOI would now move ahead at a faster pace and through a well-planned campaign, motivating local and foreign investors to invest in the country. That would not only help in bringing new technologies but also provide jobs to the people and increase our exports to reduce the trade deficit.