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May 8, 2018

‘9pc GDP Next Level and Beyond’: Policies to continue even if govt changes, says PM

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May 8, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Monday promised that Pakistan’s economic policies would continue without any disruption whichever political government came into power.

“This is Pakistan’s second political government that is completing its full term. Let me assure you that whichever government will come next, the policies would continue,” he said while addressing an international conference titled “9% GDP Next Level and Beyond” organised by Jang Group/Geo Network and the Board of Investment (BOI).

“Your investment will be safe, we have very mature legal system and you will have very high returns [on investment],” he said and thanked the Jang Group/Geo Network for organising the event.

The prime minister said, “Over the last five years, we have overcome various challenges, including security and power issues. Power shortage is the matter of the past, but now reducing its price is our challenge.”

Ambassadors of the Germany, Japan, UK, China and Turkey as well as the representatives of various international companies, investors and other officials attended conference. Abbasi said, “After coming into power, we early recognised gas shortage in the country and to mitigate the issues, we worked on import of LNG to inject more gas in the system. And now, over 30 per cent gas supply has been improved.”

“On security front, Pakistan fought largest war against terrorism in the World, in same terrain, where the world failed. We eliminated sanctuaries of all terrorist groups from our soil. It has taken a lot of our resources and sacrifices to bring security to the region,” Abbasi said.

“We invested in infrastructure not only for our own, but for the region. Pakistan would be a hub of connectivity in future, as by 2019, we would complete six-lane 1700 kilometres of motorways. We are also working on development of economic zones, seaports and airports.”

Abbasi said, “Pakistan has a lot of investment opportunities, there is not a single company that has lost money in Pakistan. Return on their investment is much high in this country.” The prime minister said, “CPEC has a great potential and the western China is now accessible through our ports.”

Later, the ambassadors of UK, Germany, China, Japan and Turkey in a panel discussion opined that Pakistan was sitting on a great asset, as its two-thirds population was less than 30 years of age. It the government invested in them and provided them good educated and training, the country could easily reach up to 9 per cent GDP growth.

Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing said, “We had achieved 9.5 per cent growth for 14 years through reforms and opening up our economy. We focused on development oriented policies.”

British High Commissioner Thomas Drew said, “We do see enormous potential in Pakistan, as its 60 per cent population is below 25 year of age, this 9 per cent [target] is high side, but doable.”

Ambassador of Germany Martin Kobler said Pakistan’s young population was an asset. “I am not happy with the Germany’s degree of investment and trade with Pakistan [which is too low]. CPEC is a great idea, German investors are afraid [to invest in its projects], but I am strongly against this philosophy. They need to look into it and should invest.”

He added that Pakistan could get the 9 per cent GDP growth. “You can do it. Pakistan has added 11000MW of electricity to the system in the last five years, while earlier in 66 years, it added 18,000MW.”

Kobler added that the impediment was the country’s perception.” We do not influence our companies, but we depict a real picture of Pakistan. Security is getting better; you cannot compare Pakistan of today with 2008.”

Japanese Ambassador Takashi Kurai said in Pakistan, 81per cent of the Japanese companies wanted to expand their businesses and other to increase their employees. “Pakistan is definitely attractive, but it should focus on security, infrastructure and predictability and durability of policies and legal structure.”

Ambassador of Turkey Ihsan Mustafa Yurdakul, said, “I am a big believer of the development of the country [Pakistan]. It has a young population and if it is well-educated and well-trained, then it is a big recipe for reaching 9 per cent growth.” He added that the security situation had very much improved.

President of Overseas Investment Chambers of Commerce (OICCI) Bruno Olierhoek said the chamber had around 191 international companies from 35 countries that were contributing 10 per cent to Pakistani GDP and one-third to its tax revenues. “Over the last five years, we have invested $8 billion in Pakistan which is a clear sign of the investors’ confidence [in Pakistan].”