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Pakistani witnesses record improvement in business confidence: survey

A general view of Gwadar port in Gwadar, Pakistan October 4, 2017. — Reuters/File
  • Overall BCS in Pakistan now stands at a positive score of 9%.
  • It is a record improvement of 59% — from the previous negative 50%.
  • The last time BCI was positive was back in April 2018.

KARACHI: The overall Business Confidence Score (BCS) in Pakistan now stands at a positive score of 9%, a record improvement by 59% from the previous negative 50% score in the Wave 19 Survey conducted in May 2020, a survey revealed Monday.

Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) shared the results of its comprehensive Business Confidence Index (BCI) Survey — Wave 20, conducted throughout the country from May to July 2021, a statement said.

The last time BCI was positive was back in April 2018, the statement said.

OICCI BCI Survey conducted periodically, is comprehensive feedback from the frontline business stakeholders of their views on the environment and opportunities impacting their respective business operations.

The feedback covers the business environment at regional, national, sectorial, and own business entity levels in the past six months, as well as the anticipated business and investment environment in the next six months.

This survey is done face to face, across the country in nine cities, covering 80% of the GDP, with higher weightage given to key business centres of Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi-Islamabad, and Faisalabad.

The survey sample consisted of 40% of respondents from the manufacturing sector, 35% from the services sector, and 25% from the retailers/wholesalers.

Retailers and Wholesalers were largely affected by the COVID-19 restrictions as their business hours were cut short resulting in income, cash flow, and other issues, but after lifting the lockdown, the businesses have largely started operating at their 100% capacity.

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“This segment also believes that the next 6 months will fare better with more sales, profits, and a better situation overall for Pakistan,” the statement said.

Commenting on the improved BCS, Irfan Siddiqui, president of OICCI, observed: “The results of BCI Survey suggests a very dramatic turnaround in the confidence of businesses, including foreign investors.”

Despite challenging macro-economic indicators like the high exchange rate, accelerated inflation, partially offset by reduced bank interest rate, the Wave 20 BCI feedback strongly reflects the optimism of the business community moving forward, he said.

Moreover, Prime Minister Imran Khan said there was more “good news” on the economic front, as he shared the statistics from the OICCI’s survey.

“Dramatic rise in confidence of business especially foreign investors,” he added.

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