Strengthening of democratic institutions leads to economic growth: Khurram to EIAS

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ISLAMABAD, Jan 25 (APP): Federal Minister for Commerce Engineer Khurram Dastgir Khan said Wednesday that promotion of democratic institutions and effectively dealing with the menace of terrorism has lead towards economic growth.
“Strengthening of democratic institutions and tackling of terrorism in an effective manner have led to economic growth as well as reform in various institutions of Pakistan”, the minister said while addressing a Briefing Seminar entitled “Pakistan’s Changing Reality: An Opportunity for Peace and Development.”
The seminar was organized by the European Institute of Asian Studies (EIAS), a prestigious think tank in cooperation with the Embassy of Pakistan in Brussels.
The Minister said that the emerging new reality of Pakistan offered opportunities for peace and development, not only within the country, but also its immediate and extended neighbours.
Sharing the good news from Pakistan he said that an era of democratic stability and socio economic development defines today’s Pakistan.
The Minister said that Pakistan has gained from GSP+ status in many ways as the country takes it as an incentive for carrying out reforms in social and economic sectors, and for working in direction of implementing rights enshrined in our constitution.
He pointed out that Treaty Implementation Cell has been established to ensure our international obligations for improvement of rights of people.
The Minister said that Pakistan’s exports have increased by 37% after grant of GSP+ and European exports to Pakistan in the form of machinery needed for production have also seen a rise by 15%.
“Pakistan has come a long way since election in 2013. Today Pakistan is a mature and functional democracy. Economy is growing and security has improved providing the space necessary to undertake the essential reforms,” the minister added.
Referring to comprehensive strategy adopted by the government to tackle terrorism, Khan said that the government has worked diligently to create national consensus on the strategy to tackle the threats of extremism and terrorism.
He said, military operation Zarb-e-Azb was started in June 2014 and National Action Plan was launched in 2015. As a result remarkable successes have been achieved in countering terrorism and extremism, he added.
The Minister informed that in the last two years the number of deaths due to terrorist attacks reduced by 66%. This is corroborated by the Terrorism Index Report, which recorded 45%drop in terrorist attacks in Pakistan in 2015 and another 27% in 2016.
On the economic front the government successfully completed IMF’s Extended Fund Facility introducing reforms to reduce fiscal and external sector vulnerabilities.
Last year Pakistan achieved highest growth rate in 8 years as recorded by the World Bank in November 2016. The growth estimates for the years 2017 and 2018 have been revised upwards from 5 and 5.4 percent to 5.2 and 5.5 percent respectively, he added.
He further informed that investors’ confidence has gone up and it’s reflected in the performance of stock exchange.
Bloomberg has ranked Pakistan Stock Exchange as the fifth best performing exchange in the world and best in Asia whereas the travel advisories on Pakistan were being revised world over and as a result foreign investors have started to return to Pakistan.
The country’s economic ratings were improving due to growth facilitated by improved economic situation, the minister added.
The Minister said, “Pakistan has one of the most attractive investment regimes in the world, allowing foreign investors 100% repatriation of profits and easy convertibility into foreign exchange.
Pakistan’s policy trends have been consistent with liberalization, privatization and facilitation being its corner stones
He pointed out that numerous investment opportunities were available in Pakistan in various sectors including, energy, consumer goods, food and agriculture, housing, health care,education, financial services, capital markets, information technology, oil and gas and infrastructure.
The Minister said one of the key pillars of present government’s foreign policy was to support and encourage regional integration and connectivity to reap the dividends of peace for common good of People of Pakistan.
He said the most promising element of this policy is China Pakistan Economic Corridor, which was fusion of several development and connectivity initiatives, focussing on infrastructure, energy and industrial cooperation.
“This multi-billion project will spur regional economic integration and bring prosperity to the entire region and beyond” he added.