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Pakistan to be among 5 biggest world economies by century end

By Mehtab Haider
February 22, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Finance Asad Umar said that Pakistan would be among five biggest economies of the world by the end of this century.

He said that India’s decision to slap 200 percent duty on Pakistani products and withdrawal of Most Favored Nations (MFN) status was tantamount to harm New Delhi’s economy more instead of causing any loss to Pakistan.

He also said that the differences with the IMF were narrowing down and discussions at technical levels were continued with the Fund staff. “When we get closer to evolve agreement, the IMF mission will be invited for finalising talks,” Federal Minister for Finance Asad Umar said while talking to reporters after chairing third ACCA’s Pakistan Leadership Conversation (PLC) here on Thursday.

When the minister was asked to comment on Indian’s move in the aftermath of Pulwama attack, the minister said that the steps taken by India demonstrated its immaturity that would become more harmful for its own economy. The minister said that Pakistan would not face any loss in the wake of recent steps taken by India where they slapped 200 percent duty on Pakistani products.

To another query about possibility of visiting IMF mission for striking staff level agreement, the minister said that Pakistani authorities and IMF were continuously holding technical level talks and they interacted with each other this week and were expected to establish contacts next week as well.

When asked about ongoing meeting of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in Paris, the minister hoped that it would give satisfactory report on Pakistan. He said that the FATF would share its outcome on Friday (today).

Earlier, in his address, the minister recalled that he had made his first presentation on leadership in 21st century after joining corporate world and challenges facing the company could replicate to any society or country as whole. The biggest challenge for Pakistan, he said, was existing gap between potential and reality of the country. “Pakistan’s potential is staggering while it’s far from reality,” he said and added that reality was not reflecting the real potential of Pakistan.

Its challenge for visionary leadership to put right people for right job, he further said. Pakistan’s governance structure was highly flawed and cited an example when he was supervising the shortlisting of candidates for selection of banker to head one financial institution he found one person at 27th position in the list so he started asking questions whether the MBA qualified from any local university or passed out from Harvard possessed each ranking and if someone also passed LLB exams so he would be considered more appropriate for this job. The minister said that criteria envisaged giving preference to one who gets additional degree, he added.

He also deplored that kinship on account of clans (Baradari) and political affiliations were considered as criteria for giving jobs but the PTI-led government was working under guidance of Dr Ishrat Hussain to revamp government structures. He said that quality of governance could not be achieved without overhauling bureaucracy and placing right man for right job.

Counsellor, British High Commission, Islamabad Peter Abbott said on the occasion that UK became the second largest source of foreign direct investment in Pakistan. He praised that Pakistan improved 11 notches in World Bank’s Doing Business Report and stood at 136th position in accordance with the latest results. He said that UK supported WB’s move for undertaking reforms on Doing Business at provincial levels. He said that Shell Company was setting up 100 fuel stations along with the CPEC routes by investing millions of dollars till 2020. He said Unilever was also planning to invest 81 million pounds for expanding its footprint in Pakistan. He said that they wanted to establish people-to-people and business-to-business contacts and the key of economic success depends upon achieving competitiveness and attracting foreign direct investment.