Pakistan has embarked on path of high growth economy: PM

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ISLAMABAD, Nov 4 (APP): Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif
on Wednesday said Pakistan has embarked on the path of high growth
economy and was heading towards a bright future for its people.
Addressing the second international Pakistan Investors
Conference here, the Prime Minister said his government had achieved
most of the objectives in the past two and a half years as was
evident from the overwhelming support it got in the recently
concluded local bodies polls, where the people endorsed the PML-N’s
policies.Besides the large number of foreign and local investors, the
event, organized by the Board of Investment, was attended by
Minister for Water & Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Minister of State
and Chairman Board of Investment Miftah Ismaeel.
The Prime Minister gave an overview of the achievements of his
government, since he took over and said not only the country’s
economy was on a strong footing, but also it was successfully
meeting the challenge of extremism, terrorism and the chronic energy
shortages.He said difficult decisions on vital national matters were now
being taken with consensus and the country’s democratic institutions
would continue to get stronger in the times ahead.
Sharif said huge investment was pouring in the energy sector
and several new projects were in the pipeline that would be
commissioned soon. The government, he said, also settled the Rs 480
billion circular debt issue soon after coming into power.
The prime minister mentioned the projects in solar, wind and
coal, besides the three new power generation plants that would be
run with imported Liquified Natural Gas.
He also mentioned the fourth extension of the Tarbela
upgradation project, besides the on-going work on Dasu Hydropower
project and said country’s energy sector was growing robust with
each passing day.
He said the projects would enable the country to meet its
energy needs for the next decade and expressed his optimism that
loadshedding would end by the year 2017.
“Our focus is not just on ending load-shedding in Pakistan for
once. We are aiming at laying the foundations of a robust energy
sector that will meet the country’s needs for the next two decades.”
Nawaz Sharif said the government had also increased the
well-head price for the oil and gas exploratory companies, while new
terminals for LNG have been set up.
He mentioned the inking of the two billion dollar agreement
with Russia for the construction of the North South gas pipeline
that would carry 1.2 billion cubic feet of gas daily.
He said another gas line was being built from Gwadar to
Nawabshah and more gas was being imported to meet the requirements
of country’s vibrant industrial sectors.
“We are determined to produce and import more gas to fully
meet the demand for gas in the country,” he said.
The Prime Minister said the government had also slashed its
expenses by 30 per cent, expenses of the Prime Minister’s Office cut
by 40 percent, Sales tax increased from 16 to 17 percent, have
helped us cut our fiscal deficit from 8.8% to around 5% in just two
years, leading the inflation to reduce and interest rates were at
their unprecedented historically low levels.
He said the country’s macroeconomic fundamentals were pointing
in the right direction. He said Pakistan’s economic turnaround has
been duly noticed and acknowledged by credit rating agencies –
Standard & Poor, Moody and Fitch, and respected publications like
Forbes and the Economist.
“Our macroeconomic fundamentals are pointing in the right
direction. We are ready to get high levels of investments from
domestic and foreign sources,” he said.
The Prime Minister said “I would like to emphasize that we
have just begun. We have plans to make this great nation into a high
growth economy in the next few years. We have only just laid the
foundation for it,” the Prime Minister said and termed it just the
beginning as the nation had embarked on a path of progress and
prosperity.
He said the operation Zarb-e-Azb was progressing successfully
and reiterated his resolve to rid the country of the cancer of
extremism and terrorism.
“Our nation has made a choice and we will not allow the cancer
of extremism to infect the fabric of our society. Our desire is to
have both peace and security within our borders and outside our
borders.”
He said Pakistan desired good neighbourly relations and wanted
increased regional trade and investment. In this regard, he also
mentioned the CASA 1000 and TAPI gas projects.
He said the government’s programme was built around four E’s
– Elimination of Extremism and Terrorism, Economic development,
Ensuring supply of Energy, and Enabling the society access to
Education and Health.
“Our fundamental principle in running the government and
achieving these goals has been to observe the highest standards of
probity, fairness and transparency.”
The Prime Minister said the goal of his government was to have
a progressive society where its citizens get quality healthcare,
education and all facilities of life. He said Pakistani
nation was forward looking and enterprising and would soon attain a
higher place in the comity of nations.
The Prime Minister said the government was spending Rs 100
billion annually in monthly stipends to more than 5 million poorest
of the poor women as part of its income support programme.
“We are also giving vocational training to poor qualified
students to enable them to earn a dignified living.”
He spoke about the loans available to the needy students for
higher education and for starting their own business ventures.
He said the country would soon have a highly improved road
linkage, enabling people to drive in few hours from Lahore to
Karachi, ample availability of electricity and gas, high speed
internet, efficient goods transportation systems.
He said 25 industrial zones would be established along the
three routes of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor and pointed
that China was investing US 46 billion in various sectors of the
country. He said the CPEC, when completed would ensure seamless
connectivity between China, South Asia and Central Asia.
“We expect that the increased trade on this corridor will
render our Gawadar port one of the busiest in the region, and will
herald a new dawn of development for whole of Balochistan.”
The Prime Minister said government would extend all possible
assistance in business enterprise in Pakistan.