Political stability essential for economic take off: Ahsan

ISLAMABAD, Nov 20 (APP): Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal has said political stability and continuity of policies were essential for economic take off and development in the country.
This was the lesson Pakistan had learnt the hard way and today
no political party wanted to derail the democratic system, the minister said while speaking as chief guest at the Future of Pakistan Conference held at the London School of Economics (LSE) on Saturday.
The event was organized by the LSE Pakistan Development Society in collaboration with Pakistan Society and the High Commission for
Pakistan in London, according to a message received here from the United Kingdom on Sunday.
The minister gave a detailed overview of the government’s development agenda and China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
He said as promised in its election manifesto, the government of
Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif at the very outset developed a
roadmap for socio economic development of the country and came up with the Vision 2025.
The four key areas of this vision, popularly known as 4 Es, were Economy, Energy, Extremism and Education, he added.
Speaking on the economic turnaround of Pakistan, he said,” In
the last three years, the economy has seen a steady growth from 2.5%
in 2013 to 4.8% last year. In 2013, the inflation was in double digit whereas it is the lowest currently. Karachi Stock Exchange is considered one of the best performing stock exchanges in the region. The international financial institutions and credit rating agencies are showing confidence in Pakistan economy. The international media that used to run stories about Pakistan’s economic collapse, is today calling Pakistan the next emerging market. Political stability and right economic policies bring about economic development.”
Ahsan Iqbal updated the audience on the improved energy situation
in Pakistan and said from 18 20 hours daily load shedding in 2013, it had come down to 6 8 hours.
He said, “The biggest ever investment in the country is being made in energy sector, which is US $35 billion out of US$46 billion portfolio of CPEC. Not only is the government focusing on power generation, but its current priority includes setting up new transmission lines and efficient distribution system. Energy alone is a big multiplier as it increases growth, production and job opportunities.”
Speaking about Pakistan’s successful fight against extremism and terrorism, Ahsan Iqbal said in 2013, the state was hostage to extremism
and was on defensive whereas now the extremists were on defensive and the
state on offensive. Peace in Karachi had been restored and the city was again becoming the hub of commercial activities.
The minister commended the role of civil and military intelligence agencies in fighting extremism.
On fourth priority area of the government i.e. education, the minister said after the 18th Amendment, the education had become a provincial subject but the federal government was still assisting the provinces to modernize the education system.
Earlier in his inaugural address, Pakistan’s High Commissioner to
the UK Syed Ibne Abbas said the conference was being held at a very opportune time when the narrative about Pakistan in the world was
changing fast as its economy was growing with security situation improved significantly.
This was happening due to the vision of the Prime Minister, he added. of Pakistan.
He congratulated the students and South Asia Centre at LSE for holding the conference and assured them of the High Commission’s support for their future events.
Dr Miftah Ismail, Minister of State Board of Investment, spoke on
the topic of ‘Economics: Challenges for CPEC and the Taxation System’
and apprised the audience about tax reforms. He said the enforcement capacity of the state to collect taxes was being improved and the economy was being formalized and documented.
Dr Miftah Ismail said the CPEC would build infrastructure and develop trade linkages. Investment in the energy sector under the CPEC would remove energy shortfall that would automatically boost GDP growth by 2%, he added.

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