ISLAMABAD - Special Assistant to Prime Minister/ Chairman Board of Investment Dr Miftah Ismail on Tuesday said BoI has established facilitation centers in Islamabad and other provincial capitals to assist small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in fast tracking set up small business valuing less than Rs100 million.
These offices will facilitate small and medium enterprises (SMEs) through one window operation in obtaining utility connections and government registration approvals at federal, provincial and district levels. As, these types of legal and other administrative approval always take time and these offices will help in minimising the time it take, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister/Chairman, Board of Investment Dr. Miftah Ismail told newsmen here on Tuesday.
Dr Miftah further informed that China would invest around $35 billion in Pakistan in next seven to eight years in different sectors including power, energy, roads and transmission lines.
“We are working with the provinces on simplification of their laws regarding businesses establishment, as the government want to encourage business and jobs generation”, chairman said. The businesspersons who want to establish their businesses will have to first apply to the head office and then if they require support in provinces in taking approvals or permits, our directors and other officers will fully facilitate them, he added.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister said that the government is also working on improving the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ and Pakistan’s standing on the ‘Global Competitiveness” which has been deteriorated over the last several years.
The Investment Board has been in consultation with Finance Ministry, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), Employees Old age Benefits Institution (EOBI) and provincial governments and have developed an implementation plan to simplify the procedures and to reduce time/cost for investment facilitation and business improvement.
Chairman said that out of ten indicators in ease of doing business index, in fist phase, we are focusing on five business indicators including starting a business, dealing with construction permits, paying taxes, trading across borders and enforcing contracts. We will try to simplify them as much is possible to facilitate investors and save their time.
In Pakistan’s SMEs sector, 90 percent of all private sector manufacturing units employ less than 99 workers and the SMEs employ some 80 percent of non-agricultural labor force. They contribute about 40 percent to GDP and generate 25 percent of exported manufacture.
Ismail said, “The investment-to-GDP ratio has declined substantially during the last five years from 19.2 percent in 2007-08 to 14 percent in 2013-14. The investment rate was 14.6 percent last year. Both domestic and foreign direct investment (FDI) contributed to this downslide. Fixed investment is registered at 12.4 percent of GDP against the 13 percent of GDP last year.
The foreign direct investment during May 2014 was also recorded at $610 million while the foreign portfolio investment stood at $121 million, he said and expressed the hope that the FDI would further increase in next year.