There are investment opportunities galore in Pakistan in virtually every sector of the economy right from energy, telecommunication, information technology, agriculture, health, tourism and hospitality to a slew of other sectors.
An upsurge in investment in Pakistan by foreigners would surely stabilise the exchange rate, which has become the sine qua non at this juncture. There is a contraction in demand for even grocery items let alone luxury products in the wake of exorbitant prices. This has resulted in abysmal production triggering whopping unemployment across the board. The breakneck depreciation of our local currency has shored up commodity prices flaring up perennial stumbling blocks for the populace in the lower quintile, to be precise. It was claimed recently that the devaluation of the rupee had raised the public debt by Rs 9.3 trillion in FY23.
Rudimentary economic concepts manifest that the exchange rate may change as a result of a change in export revenue and import expenditure as well as foreign direct investment. This calls for foreign direct investment. Though foreign direct investment would not be the panacea, however, would mitigate the unbridled concerns prevailing in the entire economy. Besides, the government needs to implement a contractionary fiscal policy to curtail inflationary pressures.
The government has projected a revenue collection target of Rs9.4 trillion for FY24 alongside the projected economic growth of 3.5 per cent and average inflation of 21 per cent. The export target is $30 billion and the import target is $59 billion for the current fiscal year. Endeavours would be made to decelerate the trade deficit as well as to circumvent pressure on the balance of payments.
There is no denying that all these targets rely on the inflow of dollars probably in the shape of foreign investment.
Since the inflow of dollars is inextricable for the targets set for the current fiscal, one must not forget the term called hot money flows. Higher interest rate attracts hot money inflows. These funds are moved around the financial markets globally to benefit from differences in interest and exchange rates. The discount rate is at a historic high of 22 per cent alongside the likelihood of further surge, which might galvanise hot money flows desperately needed by Pakistan.
Pakistan surely expects inflows of $75 billion from some GCC countries in addition to $10 billion as deposits from Saudi Arabia to underpin foreign exchange reserves forthwith. These developments would be pivotal in the appreciation of our local currency besides opening vistas of employment opportunities and burgeoning export proceeds.
By virtue of cheap labour, young English-speaking population, low production costs and tax exemptions to foreign investors, Pakistan is undeniably a heaven for foreign investors.