Pakistan ready to do business with the world: PM

1738
Profile Picture

DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan 19 (APP): Prime Minister Muhammad
Nawaz Sharif said that Pakistan was being now on the track of sustainable
growth and was “ready to do business with the world”.
“Offering attractive investment policies, Pakistan is a
destination that no global player can miss,” the prime minister said
in his address to leading businessmen at a dinner hosted by Abraaj
Group late Wednesday.
The prime minister said the strategically located Pakistan was
now politically stable, with sixth largest population in the world,
80 million middle class and blessed with rich human and natural
resources.
“I invite you to take benefit from the economic revival of
Pakistan and enjoy the first mover’s advantage,” the prime minister
told the audience comprising top business leaders gathered here for
the 47th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum.
Nawaz Sharif said his government was working to ensure rule of
law in the country while making the democratic institutions stronger
and more relevant in all aspects of governance.
He said coming to the World Economic Forum was a great
opportunity to meet global thinkers, policy makers and business
leaders who shape the future of the people.
He said without peace and stability, development remained an
elusive dream and stressed the need for collaboration and
cooperation to meet the challenges.
“Without inclusion and partnerships, we cannot make any
headway. This is the approach I believe we need to take at global,
regional and national levels in order to not only solve our problems
but also to create an environment in which the world economy can
rejuvenate and revive,” he said.
He recalled that since assuming office in 2013, his government
effectively tackled the challenges of economy, severe energy
shortages, inflationary pressures, exchange rate volatility and a
precarious security environment.
“Today, our government has managed to stabilize the economy,
despite unfavourable global economic conditions. We first set out to
improve the macro-economic outlook and sustained our efforts in
spite of strong challenges,” he said.
The prime minister said economic conditions in Pakistan were
improving continuously and from a 3 percent GDP growth before 2013,
it was projected to achieve 5.5 percent GDP growth during the
current year.
He said in last three-and-a-half years, the government
initiated much needed reforms that aimed at sustainable economic
growth and development.
He mentioned that focused was laid on technology, energy,
modern infrastructure and a thriving investment climate besides
reduction in bank interest rates and exemptions.
Nawaz Sharif said the government also launched the most
successful counter-terrorism operation anywhere in the world and
dismantled entirely the network of terrorists in two years.
“Pakistan is an inclusive, tolerant and forward looking
society. Pakistan is as safe as any other place in the world,” he
said.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the government had launched
a series of pro-poor initiatives in health, education and social
protection.
He said his government realized the fact that nations rise
when they ascribe to a shared vision of their people for prosperity
and development.
He mentioned that Pakistan’s Vision 2025 served as a
comprehensive strategy for achieving sustainable growth and mapped
the country to join the top 25 economies in the world leading to
Upper Middle Income country status by 2025.
He said the economy was targeted to grow over 8 percent
between 2018 and 2025 while maintaining a single digit inflation.
“Over the past three years, we managed to bring down the
fiscal deficit from 8.6 to 4.2 percent, increase tax to GDP ratio
from 9.8 to 12.4 percent and investment to GDP ratio from 14.9 to
15.2 percent,” he said.
He said inflation which touched 1.6 percent in October 2015
was now contained and had remained well under 3 percent since then,
besides industrial sector registering growth at 6.8 percent.
The Prime Minister mentioned growing consumer market and
expanding for US and European products, liberal investment policies,
incentives to attract new capital inflows including tax exemptions,
tariff reductions, infrastructure, and investor facilitation
services.
He said Investment Policy (2013) focused at reducing the cost
of doing business in Pakistan and Special Economic Zones to attract
foreign direct investment, all protected by legislation.
The Prime Minister told the businessmen that there was no
minimum requirement for the amount of foreign equity, investment or
upper limit on the share of foreign equity allowed except in the
airline, banking, agriculture and media sectors and foreign
companies were allowed to repatriate 100 percent profits.
He mentioned that Pakistan Stock Exchange had been created to
lower fragmentation of the market and bring it at par with global
markets.
He said the bench mark index PSE100, crossed 49,000 in January
2017 and was touching new heights, adding that recently, 40 percent
strategic shares of Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) were sold to a
Chinese consortium.
The Prime Minister said Pakistan was the fourth largest milk
producing country with third largest livestock population in the
world with significant potential for setting up processing units for
local consumption and exports.
He mentioned that the recent decision of Dutch leaders in this
sector to invest US $ 460 million in a local food and dairy
processing industry was a testament of our potential.
He said China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was a key
regional initiative for connectivity and shared prosperity of
nations.
Pakistan, located at the intersection of three engines of
growth in Asia, South Asia, China and central Asia is uniquely
positioned to become a hub to connect a population of over 3 billion
in these regions, he added.
He said CPEC would connect the port of Gwadar to Kashghar, and
would also provide connectivity to Central Asia.
He mentioned that international economic agencies were
upgrading ratings for the financial and economic stability of
Pakistan, including Standard & Poor and World bank.
The Prime Minister said at WEF at Davos, the countries need to
think hard and must prevent globalization from being trashed because
of rising surge of negative publicity and shrill slogans of
nationalism and protectionism.
“We in the 21st century cannot abandon our commitment and
attachment to the core principle of representative democracy and a
market economy,” he said.
Investors at the event spoke high of the success of the
Pakistan ‘s economic policies. Mustafa al Wadood Managing Partner of
Abraaj Group said his company had invested over US $ 700 million in
financial, consumer and energy sector.
He said the present government has doubled economic growth, halved fiscal deficit, while the country’s stock exchange was amongst the top five in Asia.
Michael Renee of McKinsey and Company spoke of the stability
of Pakistan’s economic policies and said improved security was now
a big attraction for foreign investors.
Jay Collins, vice President of the Citibank said his bank was
proud to be amongst the top banks serving the country’s public and
private sector. He said the bank raised US $ 2.5 bln worth of
strategic transactions for Pakistan and the foreign companies.
He congratulated the Prime Minister on his economic success
and progress and building reserves.
He said the FDI and partnership with China was great and said
there would be a surge in economic growth with the One Belt One Road
project.
Nitten, President of Unilever said his company has built a
large business base in Pakistan and said it had a continued
commitment. He said Pakistan ranked among top 20 business friendly
countries.
Arif Naqvi CEO of Abraaj Group said Pakistan was a country
that was on the move, with a fantastic potential. He said this
government had done more to provide a business-friendly environment.