Business confidence falls on COVID: OICCI survey

Business confidence falls on COVID: OICCI survey

KARACHI: Business confidence survey conducted throughout Pakistan during May – June 2020, were largely influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic which has negatively impacted nearly all the businesses, Overseas Investors’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) said in its latest survey released on Wednesday.

The prolonged uncertainty, due to the pandemic and strict lockdowns and other corrective measures taken by the authorities impacted a large segment of business activities.

The latest BCI survey results reflect the continued pessimism across all sectors in general and particularly in the manufacturing and services sector.

The Business confidence of manufacturing sector, which represents about 42 percent of the respondents, declined by 5 percent over the past six months and was 48 percent negative compared to 43 percent negative in Wave 18.

The BCS of the services sector, representing 29 percent of the survey respondents suffered a significant dip from 49 percent negative in Wave 18 to 59 percent negative.

The BCS of retail and wholesale trade remained unchanged; 44 percent negative in both Wave 18 and Wave 19 surveys.

Commenting on the low BCS, Haroon Rashid, President OICCI, observed “the huge scare caused by the pandemic, came during a period when the country was already in the midst of a major economic stabilization program since early 2019, with a significant devaluation of currency (38 percent decline in the past 12 months to June 2019) very high SBP policy rate (as high as 13.25 percent in Dec ‘19) and resultant high inflation impacting all businesses.

“Therefore the poor Business confidence score in the last two surveys, while a matter of concern to all the stakeholders are not surprising, in fact quite understandable, under the current challenging circumstances. Key is to focus on the future that looks both brighter and rife with opportunity as the country is slowly coming out of its COVID crisis, there is significant latent growth potential in the country, Govt. and OICCI need to work together to create a positive growth momentum for the country.”

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