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    Pakistan eyeing investment from China - 07-09-2014 03:53 AM

    Pakistan, Business News : Pakistan is eying the Beijing’s proposed huge investment of about $40 billion over the next eight years in the country’s energy, water, coal, roads and other infrastructure projects.According to the Board of Investment, a sizeable growth will be recorded in the foreign direct investment inflows from the next year’s second half.The BOI has also established facilitation centers in Islamabad and other provincial capitals to assist small entrepreneurs in setting up their businesses valued less than Rs100 million, Dr Miftah Ismail, special assistant to the prime minister and chairman of BOI, told the media persons on Tuesday.These offices will facilitate small and medium enterprises through one-window operation in obtaining utility connections and government registration approvals at federal, provincial and district levels. These types of legal and other administrative approval always take time.“We are working with the provinces on simplification of their laws regarding businesses establishment, as the government wants to encourage business and creation of jobs,” said the chairman.Business persons who want to establish their businesses will have to first apply to the head office and if they require support in provinces in taking approvals or permits, “Our directors and other officers will fully facilitate them.This facility is available to investors and entrepreneurs with capital of Rs100 million or less,” he said.Dr Ismail said the investment to gross domestic product ratio decreased substantially to 14 percent in 2013-14 from 19.2 percent in 2007-08 because of lowering local and foreign investments.The fixed investment to GDP ratio was recorded at 12.4 percent as against 13 percent last year.Pakistan’s ranking in the World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business’ and on the ‘Global Competitiveness’ has been deteriorating over the last several years.In ease of doing business, the country’s rank was at 61, which gradually slid to 110 in 2014.The investment board chief said the board has developed an implementation plan to simplify the procedures and reduce time/cost for investment facilitation and business improvement.For that, the board is consulting with the finance ministry, Federal Board of Revenue, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan and Employees’ Old-age Benefits Institution.Besides, said the PM special assistant, the board is focusing on improvement of the five indicators in ease of doing business index, including starting a business, dealing with construction permit, tax payment, trading across borders and enforcing contract.“We will try to simplify them as much as possible to facilitate investors and save their time.”He said business regulatory environment is particularly relevant for small and medium enterprises – the key driver of competition, economic growth and job creation, especially in developing countries like Pakistan.SMEs employ some 80 percent of non-agricultural labor force and contribute about 40 percent towards the gross domestic product.

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