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Dawn News - 2 month ago

US firms concerned about business climate

KARACHI: Majority of the US firms believe that business climate in Pakistan has worsened while others feel that it has become even more difficult to do business when compared to previous years. A perception survey conducted by American Business Council (ABC) released on Wednesday stated that 61 per cent of its members responded that the business climate in Pakistan has worsened. Similarly, 40pc believe it has become even more difficult to do business in the country. However, over 59pc indicated that international perception of the country has become better, recording marked improvement since FY18 when 57pc rated it as being the same. The survey allowed ABC members to rate their satisfaction on various economic, regulatory and political factors that affected the performance and growth of business over FY19. Therefore, the business climate was rated on each of the factors influencing it, including economy, implementation and consistency of government policies, political climate, law and order. Of these, economy and implementation of policies were rated as being unsatisfactory by over half of the participants while 75pc said the increasing cost of utilities, duties and taxes are the biggest challenges which adversely affect business operations. Nevertheless, the findings reveal that over 90pc of the respondents were optimistic about the long-term (2+ years) economic and operating climate, which is a positive sign. It also notes optimism of American investors with over 40pc marking Pakistan as one of the many destinations for near-term global investment plans and quite a few marking it as a top priority. ABC President Adnan Asad said the government’s first year was geared towards correcting the course and putting Pakistan on track. The country had to pay for it by away of price hikes, inflation and extremely high interest rates, he added. Asad foresees 2020 marked by stability with the economy settling down and business environment improving. All indicators show a positive and optimistic picture, law and order in control and the government striving to implement its policy of ‘Ease of Doing Business,’ he maintained. Published in Dawn, December 13th, 2019

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