For the past few years, Pakistan’s Board of Investment (BOI) has been trying hard to seek foreign investments in the name of reforms being undertaken in the country.
The federal department, along with similar bodies at the provincial level, usually go on an overdrive with their fractured narrative of made-up economic opportunities available for overseas investors in the country.
However, global investors are mostly wary on account of Pakistan’s abysmal record on law and order, human rights, policy stability, institutional independence and most importantly, professional ethics.
Honesty and ethical behaviour are the basic pre-requisites on the part of parties when signing international contracts – this is even more so when the parties are representing sovereign countries.
But, expecting the same in the case of Pakistani institutions is really a tall order.
An interesting case in point is the Sindh Board of Investment (SBI), which was responsible for attracting foreign investments for various projects in Sindh.
In its efforts of selling non-existent favourable policies and conducive investment climate to unsuspecting foreign investors, it launched a pompous advertising campaign in 2016.
The board went on to hire the services of a Spanish marketing agency named M/S Global Business Worldwide Ltd for its promotional campaign by publishing a special report in Fortune magazine.
The agreement with the Spanish company was signed by then Chairman of the Sindh Board of Investment, Naheed Memon in June 2016.
The contract involved payment of 20,000 Euros to the Spanish firm for the project.
However, even after five years, the professional agency is awaiting its payment despite several reminders to the Pakistani board.
Shocked by the state of ethics of Pakistani department, the company approached the Pakistan Embassy in Madrid several times for the payment, which did not help either.
Disappointed from all quarters, Global Business Worldwide has finally decided to take legal recourse as per EU procedures.
It has also engaged a law firm ILLA S.L. which is in the process of finalising the agency’s claim for the due amount and the interest accrued thereon.
The law firm has also communicated to the Pakistani Embassy in Madrid about its plans to approach a court on the issue.
But the case did not come as a surprise to the embassy, given the sub-par performance of Pakistani institutions in delivering on their word.
While this case can lead the court to take action against the embassy, including the possibility of blocking its bank accounts, the Pakistani BOI continues its sale to the world; of fake promises through bogus projects.