Foreigners upbeat about security

It may be noted that over two-thirds of the OICCI members had their head offices in Karachi with operations all over the coun-try. The survey was conducted from May 15 to June 22. PHOTO: FILE

Foreign investors have shown a high level of satisfaction over the fast-improving security environment and have also appreciated the performance of law enforcement agencies (LEAs) in the main business centres of Pakistan – Karachi and Lahore, reported the Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) Annual Security Survey 2020.

According to the survey, LEAs have raised the security satisfaction profile of the two cities and brought them on a par with other megacities in the region.

Commenting on the survey findings, OICCI President Haroon Rashid said, “The smooth and professional handling of the brazen attack on Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) on June 29 and the restoration of order within a very short time was a testimony to the OICCI members’ confidence in the ability of LEAs to professionally combat any threat to life and property in the country.”

The OICCI president added, “Foreign investors are not deterred by isolated incidents and continue to take a holistic view of the operating environment, which OICCI members perceive as a positive approach, showing continuous improvement.”

Survey respondents included CEOs and senior management of member organisations of the OICCI and 70% of the OICCI’s 200 members, who belong to 35 countries and operate in 14 key sectors of the economy in Pakistan, participated in the survey.

It may be noted that over two-thirds of the OICCI members had their head offices in Karachi with operations all over the country. The survey was conducted from May 15 to June 22.

The OICCI 2020 Security Survey indicates that foreign investors overall were impressed with further improvement in the security environment over the past 12 months, since July 2019, especially in Karachi and Lahore, with a noticeable improvement in other business centres as well.

Giving an assessment of the overall security situation, 60% of the respondents have reported improved security environment for their own and customers’ business, as well as for their suppliers and employees.

OICCI Vice President Irfan Siddiqui pointed out, “This improvement is over and above the already improved security environment last year, and the continued improvement recorded in the OICCI Annual Security Surveys since 2015.”

He added that it was highly encouraging that despite many disruptions during the past 12 months, due to the Azadi March in December 2019, border tensions with India in the third quarter of 2019 and subsequent travel restrictions since end-March 2020 due to Covid-19, the foreign nationals visiting Pakistan for OICCI members showed a healthy increase.

Over 40% respondents reported that more visitors came compared to last year, with 26% hosting more than 50 visitors and most respondents receiving between 20 and 50 visitors.

The foreign business visitors were mainly from China, the UK, US, UAE as well as other European and Asian countries.

Owing to the sustained improvement in the security environment, the OICCI members reported that over 90% of the board and management meetings of their Pakistan business operations, involving the headquarters and/or regional management, were held within the country. In terms of serious crimes, 87% of the respondents indicated a decrease over last year in Karachi and Lahore. However, the survey respondents expressed concern over the increasing street crimes.

Overall, 37% of the respondents in Karachi and 27% in Lahore voiced concern over the increasing street crimes. According to the results, Islamabad experienced the lowest increase in street crimes among the key business centres.