ISLAMABAD: The South Asian countries can boost intra-regional investments by organising regular seminars and discussions and Pakistan has a great potential for foreign investment in the energy sector, Board of Investment (BoI) Secretary Fareena Mazhar said.
The World Bank Group under its “One South Asia Conversations” has organised an exclusive session titled, “Path to Recovery: Embracing Intraregional Investments in South Asia” in which secretary, BOI has participated as a speaker to discuss the international investment in South Asian region in general and in Pakistan in particular.
The session was moderated by Cecile Furman, Director Regional Integration and Engagement, South Asian region, World Bank.
The other participants were Ahsan Khan Choudhary, CEO, PRAN RFL Group, Bangladesh; Hector Gomez Ang, South Asia Regional Director, IFC; and Sanjay Kathuria, Senior Economist and Author, Regional Investment Pioneers- The Payoff of Knowing your Neighbor.
She stressed that South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) could play an important role in promoting regional investment.
The discussion explored the ways intra-regional investments can boost robust recovery, what are the barriers, and how a few South Asian pioneer investors are overcoming it all to build successful intra-regional businesses.
The discussion also brought together senior WBG leadership, leading investors from South Asia, policy makers, and academicians from across the world and especially from the leading stakeholders of South Asian region.
The BOI secretary expounded that for the development of South Asian region the intra-regional investment plays a pivotal role.
She also apprised the audience that Pakistan was the first country to open a bank branch in a regional country, Sri Lanka.
She highlighted that Pakistan follows a very liberal investment regime.
Besides, she also stated that various special schemes to attract investment such as Special Economic Zones, Auto Policy 2016, and Export Enhancement Package, 2019 have also been initiated by the Government of Pakistan having fiscal and financial incentives to attract investment.
Similarly, for outward investment, the State Bank of Pakistan has empowered the commercial banks, in most of the cases, to send the outward foreign exchange without seeking prior approval from the central bank.
To sum up the discussion, she proposed a regular interaction and exchanges between investment promotion agencies of the South Asian region to ensure the trust building and exploring the investment opportunities.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021