Pakistan set on track of sustainable growth: PM

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ISLAMABAD, Feb 9 (APP): Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif
on Thursday said Pakistan was set on track of sustainable growth and
was ready to do business with the world.
“Pakistan with its sixth largest population in the world, 80
million middle class, blessed with human and natural resources,
strategically located, politically stable, offering attractive
policies is a destination no global player can miss,” the Prime
Minister said in a meeting with heads of international
organizations, here at the PM Office .
The group of corporate leaders that attended the meeting
belonged to the Untied States, Australia, China, United Kingdom,
Canada, Italy, France, Spain, Sweden, Singapore, Germany, South
Korea and Switzerland.
The Prime Minister urged upon the foreign businessmen to avail
the country’s investment potential and “enjoy the first mover’s
advantage”.
Nawaz Sharif apprised the businessmen that Pakistan’s economic
conditions were improving continuously with an objective to achieve
five percent GDP growth rate from the current three percent.
He said the government was aimed at achieving sustainable
economic growth and mentioned several steps taken in this regard
including strengthened tax administration, rationalize untargeted
annual subsidies and widened social safety nets.
He said these steps reinforced macroeconomic policies, which
resulted in lower budget deficit, increased foreign exchange
reserves, and low spending on energy subsidies.
The Prime Minister said the government was cognizant of the
need for a comprehensive and contemporary policy framework that
supported macroeconomic stability.
“We are well aware that international investors need stable
markets backed by clear and consistent policies. We are committed to
maintaining an enabling policy framework to attract foreign direct
investment,” he said.
He said the Vision 2025 mapped Pakistan to join the top 25
economies in the world leading to Upper Middle Income country status
by 2025.
He said the country’s economy was targeted to grow over 8
percent between 2018 and 2025 while maintaining a single digit
inflation.
He mentioned that PricewaterhouseCoopers had placed Pakistan
at 20 in its projected list of 32 most powerful economies of the
world in 2030.
The Prime Minister said as a result of sustained commitment to
reform, key economic indicators had improved since the government
was elected in 2013.
Over the past three years, the government brought down the
fiscal deficit from 8.6 to 4.2 percent, increased Tax to GDP ratio
from 9.8 to 12.4 percent and investment to GDP ratio from 14.9 to
15.2 percent, he added.
He mentioned that inflation had been contained which had
earlier touched 1.6 percent in October 2015 and had remained well
under 3 percent since then.
He said industrial sector showed remarkable performance and
registered a growth of 6.8 percent during 2015-16 and was poised to
do even better this year and onwards.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said since he came into office in
2013, the economy faced severe energy shortages, inflationary
pressures, exchange rate volatility and a precarious security
environment.
He said however at present, the consumer market in Pakistan
was growing at a very fast pace including automobiles, housing,
electronics, telecommunication, hospitality and online-retails
sectors.
He said Pakistan was emerging as an expanding market for US
and European products.
He mentioned that the government had devised a comprehensive
plan to create investment friendly environment, particularly
liberalized investment policies to welcome foreign investments.
“We offer incentives to attract new capital inflows, including
tax exemptions, tariff reductions, infrastructure, and investor
facilitation services,” he said.
He said the Investment Policy (2013) focused at reducing the
cost of doing business in Pakistan, easing business with creation of
industrial clusters and Special Economic Zones to attract foreign
direct investment, all protected by legislation.
Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan Stock Exchange had been created to
lower fragmentation of the market and bring it at par with global
markets.
“The bench mark index PSE100, crossed 49,000 in January 2017
and is touching new heights. Recently, 40 percent strategic shares
of Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) were sold to a Chinese consortium,”
he added.
He pointed that this divestment was the first such sale in a
bourse in the regional markets and it also marks first venture of
Chinese bourse outside China.
The Prime Minister also apprised the foreign businessmen of
Pakistan’s strategic location on Asia’s premier trade, energy and
transport corridor.
“It is also the gateway to the energy rich Central Asian
States, the financially liquid Gulf States and the economically
advanced Far Eastern economies,” he said.
He said China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was a key
regional initiative for connectivity and shared prosperity of
nations.
He said under CPEC, a portfolio of over US$55 billion had
already been implemented while investment of more than US$35 billion
in the energy sector was also being implemented.
He said the corridor would substantially shorten
transportation distances between Africa and Middle-East to Central
and South Asian regions.
The Prime Minister said international economic agencies were
upgrading ratings for the financial and economic stability of
Pakistan.
He mentioned that Standard & Poor (S&P) had upgraded its
forecast of average annual GDP growth from 4.7 to 5 percent, World
Bank forecast a GDP growth of 5.2 percent for 2016-17, S & P also
expected Pakistan’s debt to fall below 60 percent of GDP by 2018.
The CEOs from UK included Henry Cookson, MD Henry Cookson
Adventures, Britain; Julia Charlotte Chastel De Boinville, Clint
Programme Manager Afiniti; George Justin Murray, MD Afiniti;
Christopher Malcolm Farmer, EVP Afiniti; Thomas Hampden Inskip, MD
Afiniti; Archibald Soames, Sr Manager Afiniti; Julian Lopez
Portillo, Client Programme Manager Afiniti and Max Cooper Lintott,
Client Program Manager Afiniti.
The business leaders from USA included Muhammad Ziaullah Khan
Chishti, CEO the Resource Group and Hassan Afzal, Chief Technology
Officer Afiniti.
The business leaders from Italy included Alessandro Benetton,
CEO Benetton Autostrade Pvt Equity; Carlo D’ Amelio, CEO Sant’ Anna-
Holding Ibl Bancal-Spa; Fabio Corsico, Govt Affairs Director Kolon
Group;  Marco Alvera, CEO Snam; Cecilia Braggiotti, MD Afiniti and
Lucia Baresi, Client Programme Manager Afiniti.
The CEOs from China included Sichen Huang, Afiniti Advisor;
Guo Ping, CEO Huawei; Linchun Chin, Youghi Yang, Jin Yi Hugo Ou, Non
ED Sinolink Worldwide Holdings, China.
The CEOs from other countries included Raymond Lee, Owner
Kolon Group (South Korea); Rob Rankin, Chairman Consolidated Press
Holdings and  Roy Wyatt Beau, Client Programme Manager Afiniti
(Australia); Lai Chang Wen, CEO Ninja Van and Li Huanwu, GM Afiniti
and Hua Qianni, Centre Director (East China) (Singapore Consulate);
Tanguy Catlin, Senior Partner Mckinsey and Jerome Geo.M.F.de la
Croix de Castries, Country Manager Afiniti (France); Alonso Aznar
Botella, Silent Programme Manager (Spain); Benedict Constantin
Faber, GM Afiniti (Germany); Michel Grorges Portenier, EVP Afiniti
(Switzerland); Timothy Gordon Raymond Nixon, GM Afiniti (Canada);
Justyna Hanna Kozicki (Sweden) and Ali Raza Siddiqi, Director JS
Group and Nadeem A. Elahi, MD and Country Head Pakistan, The
Resource Group (Pakistan).