The Pakistani diaspora in the United States asked Islamabad on Tuesday to work out a long-term strategy to ensure predictability in policymaking along with ensuring ease of doing business to attract investment in the manufacturing sector.
The diaspora addressed potential and challenges in the construction, real estate, technology, tourism, hospitality, e-commerce, and manufacturing sectors at a panel discussion on US-Pakistani Diaspora’s Commercial Investments in Pakistan.
Through the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and in close coordination with the US-Pakistani diaspora, the US Mission in Pakistan organized a one-day engagement conference. There were more than 100 attendees in person, including notable local business executives and members of the US-Pakistani diaspora.
Leading US-Pakistani businessmen noted a lack of consistency in policy, insufficient energy, and an increase in the business-friendliness of Pakistan as barriers to attracting investments. It was also made clear that Pakistan lacks a succession plan to ensure a smooth change in leadership and the continuation of current policies.
Zeeshan Shah, the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Investments, agreed with most of the issues raised, including the inconsistent application of policies. He claimed that this was the result of Pakistan’s inexperienced democratic government. He regretted how policies from one government were abandoned by another.
Mr. Shah said this situation could be handled only through a long-term roadmap. “There is a need for a national charter of the economy”, he said, adding the charter will give certainty to economic policies.
During the discussion, it was also brought up that Pakistan’s economic policies favor real estate investments and promote the importation of finished goods. There is no sensible strategy in place to promote investment in Pakistan’s industrial industry.
US Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Andrew Schofer emphasized at the conference that the US-Pakistani diaspora is a significant US partner in Pakistan’s social, commercial, and humanitarian sectors.
Mr. Schofer highlighted the long history of the US and Pakistan working together to advance Pakistan’s economic growth and solve development challenges. He also highlighted opportunities for future partnership: “As the Green Revolution improved lives in the past, a ‘Green Alliance’ between the US and Pakistan will help us jointly strengthen climate resilience, develop clean energy alternatives, and foster economic growth”.
The conference highlighted significant investments made by the US-Pakistani diaspora in the humanitarian, social, and business sectors and looked into potential future collaborations.
The US Agency for International Development (USAID) signed two partnership memorandums of agreement with US-Pakistani diaspora organizations during the closing session: one with Datarocx to establish digital centers in Pakistan’s Special Technology Zones, and the other with Global Semiconductor Group and HUM Network Limited for Pakistan Katalytic Fund to increase access to growth capital for established businesses in the technology sector.