direct investment has crept up in recent years but the
increase has been slower than projected with international
investors harbouring a whole range of concerns about doing
business with Pakistan. The US Pakistan Business Council
in Washington D.C, a group of major US investors, has been
working with the Pakistan government in an effort to raise
FDI. How do US investors, one of the largest in Pakistan,
view the opportunities for investment? And what would they
like to see change in government policy?
Dawn’s Naween A. Mangi spoke from New York to Ahmet Bozer, chairman
of the US Pakistan Business Council.
IN 2004-05, foreign direct investment crossed the $1.5 billion level,
up from $949 million in 2003-04. FDI from the U.S. rose from $238 million
to $326 million in 2004-05, making American investment second in quantum
only to funds from the UAE which poured $367.5 million.
Although in this past fiscal year, the government met the $1.5 billion
target Islamabad had struggled with last year, FDI commitments still
remain lower than expected given the improvements in macroeconomic indicators
As one of Pakistan’s largest groups of investors, U.S.-based investors
banded together in 2002 under the platform of the U.S.-Pakistan Business
Council with a mandate to promote U.S.-origin FDI in Pakistan.
“We aim to create platforms where U.S. investors and potential investors
have a change of dialogue with the Pakistan government,” Ahmet Bozer, chairman
of the Council said in an interview to Dawn from his Istanbul office. “We
play a bridge role and communicate the concerns of investors to the government
in the hope of influencing policy making. It is very difficult to actually trigger
specific investments but we believe that if this dialogue is sustained, people
will become more aware of investment opportunities in Pakistan.”
The council has a total of 18 members including major companies like
Bozer’s Coca cola which has invested $150 million in Pakistan,
Pepsi, Citigroup, Motorolla, Merck, General Electric and Boeing. Smaller
companies owned by entrepreneurs of Pakistani origin, such as Touchstone
Corporation are also members of the council.