ICCI calls for new incentives to lure expat investors

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Expressing grave concerns over the huge dip in foreign exchange reserves, the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) called upon the government to take urgent measures to address this precarious trend. In a statement issued on Friday, ICCI President Zafar Bakhtawari said that Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves have fallen exponentially from $18 billion in July 2011 to a meagre $10.501 billion. He said that Pakistan needs more foreign exchange to fulfil its foreign debt obligations as Pakistan is to repay $5.8 billion to foreign lenders in FY 14, therefore, the government needs to undertake immediate structural reforms to bring stability to these foreign reserves. Due to falling foreign reserves the government will miss all its economic targets as inflation will grow, economic growth will slow down, the budget deficit will further widen and unemployment will rise, Bakhtawari said. The $5.3 billion loan from the IMF will not relax the pressure on foreign exchange reserves and the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) thus needs to utilize all options to improve the balance of payment situation, he added. Furthermore, he stressed on the need for the government to support and facilitate the export sector and provide new incentives for overseas Pakistanis to improve the country’s foreign reserves.

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