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KARACHI: The Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) members have appreciated the significant improvement in the FX remittance processing time and in growing engagement of the State Bank of Pakistan leadership with the key stakeholders.

The Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) released the results of their latest annual Remittance Survey 2021 conducted amongst the foreign investors who are members of the OICCI.

This annual survey was conducted during May 2021 to measure the progress made during the past one year in terms of facilitating foreign remittances.

Ninety-four percent of the survey respondents said that Dividend remittances are now being approved by the central bank within three months of the applications versus 72 percent in the last survey conducted in 2019, whereas 90 percent respondents indicated that technical fee is also being remitted within three months versus 47 percent in the last survey and likewise 67 percent informed about similar timelines for royalty remittance as opposed to a meager 28 percent in the last survey."

Commenting on the key findings of the survey, Irfan Siddiqui, OICCI president, highlighted that foreign investors have also highly appreciated the numerous "ease of doing business" initiatives by the SBP during the past one year, considering significant negative impact of Covid-19 on the business environment, especially for medium and small businesses that were also the customers of many of OICCI members.

The SBP's modernization initiative, inter alia, enabled over 2/3rd of the respondents to track online their remittance application.

The foreign investors have also recommended few areas for further improvement by SBP including giving more autonomy to authorized dealers in making routine remittances, allowing hedging of major FX payments like dividends, royalty, and technical fees and further simplifying the Foreign Exchange manual by making it sector-wise.

The OICCI is a research based organization which conducts numerous surveys on matters affecting foreign investors in Pakistan and shares key findings with relevant government authorities to facilitate existing and potential foreign investors.

The over 200 members of OICCI belong to 35 countries and collectively contribute about one-third of the tax revenue of the country and are the largest group of investors in Pakistan annually for past many years.

In the last nine years, the OICCI members have invested over US$18 billion in expanding their footprint in Pakistan.

This survey was initiated in 2018 following concerns raised by foreign investors about delays in the remittances to different foreign parties, their HQ and suppliers.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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