ISLAMABAD: Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Chairman Syed Shabbar Zaidi on Saturday said inconsistency in economic policies was more serious issue than any external threat to investment environment.
Addressing at a discussion forum titled Raabta on ‘Enterprising Peace – Regional Stability for Economic Prosperity’ Mr Zaidi said: “The first thing we have to establish in Pakistan is consistency and stability in our system and policies.”
He said that in the last 20 years, around $6 billion had been siphoned off annually and this figure had been reported in the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
Says flight of $6bn annually from country is a serious issue
He said the flight of capital from the country was a serious matter.
The FBR chairman said the investment percentage in Pakistan was one of the lowest in the region.
“Why? It is due to economic instability, a good economist will not invest unless he thinks about the future of the investments up to 50 years in advance.”
The FBR chairman was also asked about the impact of recent conflict with India on the confidence of businessmen regarding Pakistan.
However, Mr Zaidi said that the external threats were not a serious issue.
“The Indian threat is strength for Pakistan as it unites the nation, but the issue of disparity within Pakistan was a bigger threat for all of us.”
The discussion revolved around regions and states that are not necessarily in overt conflict, but that are institutionally and economically weak and vulnerable to international threats and instability.
Speakers stressed that Pakistan needed to build relevant infrastructure to highlight its cause at global arena.
Dr Professor Khalida Ghous said that Islamophobia was seen through the lens of religion alone, whereas other interrelated issues like immigration and assimilation also play a role.
She further remarked: “Radicalisation also exists in the largest democracies such as India and secular America.”
She said that post-9/11 and due to the marginalisation of the Muslim minority communities and the type of legislation, migrants were unable to be integrated into the western society.
Centre for International Strategic Studies (CISS) Executive Director Ambassador Ali Sarwar Naqvi said the global politics had seen striking transformations in the 21st century.
“All the old patterns and links of global politics have been blurred,” he said and gave the example of China which has thriving trade relationships with India despite being a strong friend of Pakistan, while Russia being decades-old ally of India is reaching out to Pakistan.