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KARACHI: Founder of Corporate Pakistan Group (CPG), Muhammad Azfar Ahsan while conversing with members of CPG highlights the attributes of new Board of Investment Chairman.

Azfar Ahsan said that this time round, an energetic and young person with zeal having well defined goals should be appointed as BoI’s Chairman. Irrespective of the gender, the new Chairman should be a livewire who can unveil a well define execution strategy. He further elaborated that the ‘HOW’ of getting things done is more important as everyone know the destination but nobody know the path to reach this destination.

Talking about the shift in Pakistan’s foreign relations, he said that new Chairman should strive to expand the portfolio of countries and bring Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Russia, Turkey, Iran, Malaysia, Indonesia and other countries. If Government to Government have bottlenecks, private groups should be approached and matchmaking services be arranged.

Besides increasing a diverse base of countries we should also increase sectors that attract investments such as power generation, oil & gas exploration, IT and ITEs, textiles, retail, transport, food, pharmaceuticals & vaccine manufacturing, financial services, tourism, and agriculture.

A crucial responsibility of BOI is to facilitate domestic investment because FDI is directly linked with the investment of local investment. A drawback for Pakistan is that it is seeking FMCG type of FDI although our target should be to seek export oriented FDI with special focus on Agriculture sector. When seeking FDI, BOI needs to be focused.

They should target individual sectors instead of following the age old method of having roundtable presentations. BOI embarked on deregulation and is also creating single window.

These are steps in the right direction and in coming days, more unique initiatives need to be incorporated to enhance viability of this institution. For all this the new Chairman should have whole hearted support by all concerned government departments.

The appropriate person for this assignment in my view has to be a person with a big heart and proven track record who possess sound knowledge and can deliver in unfavourable circumstances. He or she should not blame factors such as restrictive environment and proverbial bureaucratic delays and should possess enough wisdom, experience, and grit to work through this maze to achieve the desired results. We need someone who can almost single-handedly bring foreign investment and set a benchmark for his successors.

Azfar Ahsan concluded by saying that to achieve meaningful change, we need out of box thinking because following the same old tried and tested strategies will never bring any meaningful change in our investment climate. He said for fresh ideas and innovative strategies the new chairman should also consider outside help and engage companies that can suggest new and innovative ways to attract FDI.—PR

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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