Significant achievements made through economic reforms: Khawaja Asif

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ISLAMABAD, Dec 6 (APP): Minister for Water and Power Khawaja
Asif Tuesday said the government under the dynamic leadership of
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has placed a strong emphasis on economic
reforms to achieve significant improvement in all sectors of the
economy.

“Pakistan’s economy has made significant progress through a
combination of stabilization and structural reforms,” he said while
addressing the Pakistan-Italy Investment Forum here.

The forum was jointly organized by the Board of Investment and
Italian Embassy in Pakistan, which among others was participated by
visiting Italian Deputy Minister for Economic Development,
accompanied by fifty prominent businessmen.

Khawaja said Pakistan has enormous energy resource potential
for both renewable and non-renewable.

“Pakistan is blessed with huge energy resources, which includes over 60,000 MW of hydel potential, 340,000 MW potential for wind Energy, and potential of 2,324 million MW for solar thermal and photovoltaic systems,” he maintained.

In addition, 105 trillion cubic feet of shale gas reserves and 9 billion barrels of shale oil reserves are yet to be tapped, he said adding Pakistan was fortunate to have 185 billion tonnes of coal reserves which can be used for power generation as well as diesel production.

Speaking on the occasion, State Minister and Chairman Board of
Investment, Dr. Miftah Ismail and Secretary BOI, Azhar Ali
Choudhry informed the Italian businessmen that Pakistan was offering
a very liberal investment regime in the region with diverse and
business friendly incentives.

Miftah Ismail informed the participants that under the dynamic
leadership of Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Pakistan’s
economic outlook has altogether changed in the last three years, a
fact which is now being globally acknowledged.

“When our government assumed power in 2013, we were facing
energy crisis, economic instability, extremism and terrorism. Our
government has handled these issues head-on and achieved substantial success in all these areas,” he added.

As a result of these consistent efforts, GDP growth of 4.71 %
was achieved in last year which was the highest in last seven years
he said and added that Pakistan has made a considerable improvement
in restoring economic stability and now the economy is moving on a
high growth trajectory.

Stock Market is touching historic high and crossed 40, 000
points while confidence of foreign and local investors has increased
on the friendly trade and investment policies of the government.

Inflation during 2016 contained at 2.79%, which is the lowest
in last 13 years, foreign exchange reserves are touching new heights
and remittances are on the rise.

Promoting regional connectivity is one of the pillars of our
development strategy, he added.

The government is actively pursuing this initiative which has
the potential to integrate South Asia, China, Central Asia and West
Asia which are engines of growth in Asia.

The game changer agreements have been signed between Pakistan
and China called China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The focus of CPEC is on energy, a network of roads, railway
and pipelines between the longtime allies connecting Kashgar city of
China with Gwadar Port of Pakistan.

In addition, the government is also working on Turkmenistan-
Afghanistan-Pakistan gas pipeline, Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline,
Central Asia, South Asia electricity transmission projects which
would immensely enhance Pakistan’s regional connectivity and make it
hub of economic development.

Deputy Minister for Economic Development Italy, Ivan Scalfarotto while addressing on the occasion said, thanked BOI for providing platform for the businessmen from both the sides.

He urged the Italian businessmen to invest in projects of Pakistan and praised the support given by the people of Pakistan to the Italian nation.

He expressed a dire need to establish inter-governmental framework between the two countries to further boost trade relations
between the two countries.

He urged to boost up exchange of business delegations between
the two countries for further improvement of trade between the
countries.

He said huge Chinese investment in Pakistan and TAPI gas
projects will play a vital role in the economic development of
Pakistan and for the region.

Ivan appreciated Pakistan’s efforts for improvement in the economic and  security conditions in the region.

Deputy Minister, Italy while speaking on the occasion said
Italy was having experience expertise in technology and know-
how to meet the requirements of Pakistan on energy, power plants,
and we wish to contribute on these energy problems.

The forum was also addressed by Naheed Memon, Chairperson
Sindh BOIT and Mohsin Syed heads of provincial investment promotion
agencies from Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

They highlighted the investment opportunities available in
their respective provinces and invited Italian businessmen for
investment.

At the end Business to Business meetings were held between
Pakistani and Italian businessmen in the sectors of Infrastructure
and Construction, Renewable Energy, Automotive, Machinery for
Agriculture and Food Processing, Textile & Leather, Agrobased, and
Machinery for Marble & Stones.