Nawaz govt taking steps for putting economy back on track: Olson

ISLAMABAD: The US ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olson said Thursday that Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif government had taken several steps for putting the country’s economy back on the track to make it an economic power in the region.

“The government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has taken a number of steps to put Pakistan back on track to become a rising economic power in Asia, namely by increasing the supply of energy and promoting business-friendly policies,” he said in a statement to the Leaders Summit which was organized by the Board of Investment, Wateen Telecom and others at a local hotel here.

The United States is also committed to promoting economic growth through entrepreneurship.

Nawaz Sharif, he said, has also made important commitments for the future that, if realized, will put Pakistan on a path toward greater growth and increased investor confidence.

“The United States is committed to strengthening the economic ties between our countries. We are Pakistan’s largest export market and a leading source of Pakistan’s foreign investment, and we will continue deepening our economic partnership in the years to come”, said Olson.

Olson said that under the direction of President Obama and Nawaz Sharif, both sides were developing a Joint Plan to increase trade and investment flows between two countries over the next five years.

This plan will build on the existing efforts to increase trade and investment ties. In 2012, a US-Pakistan Business Opportunities Conference was launched in London which was followed by a subsequent Dubai conference in 2013, to connect US and Pakistani importers and exporters, he said.

He said last year he and Petroleum Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi led a trade mission comprising seventeen Pakistani oil and gas firms to Houston, Texas, to boost trade and investment in Pakistan?s energy sector.

“As part of the Joint Plan, we will continue to strengthen these efforts,” he said.

The United States is also working with the Pakistani government on development programmes that create new business opportunities and improve the lives of Pakistani citizens at all levels of society.

“We have completed projects that provide enough electricity for over sixteen million people, adding more than one thousand megawatts to Pakistan’s power grid. One such project was the Gomal Zam Dam, which will provide irrigation water to 30,000 farming families and provide power to 52 villages in South Waziristan.”

Olson said this and other projects to construct and rehabilitate dams and modernize power plants did much more than improving daily lives of the beneficiaries. They set struggling regions on a path to prosperity by creating opportunities for establishing new enterprises, boosting productivity, and earning a better living.

The public and private sectors, he said relied on one another to ensure economic growth.

“We must not view them as separate entities, operating independently and pursuing different goals. In fact, over the last decade some of the most innovative, exciting projects in the world were the product of public-private partnerships, with the public and private sectors collaborating to tackle issues of mutual concern,” said the envoy.

Source: APP