KARACHI: Federal Minister for Planning, Reforms and Development, Prof. Ahsan Iqbal, Thursday said Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government led by Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif wants private sector especially entrepreneurs led economic growth in the country.
Pakistan would be included among 50 top countries till 2025. Under the vision-2023, Pakistan would be carried forward to prosperity as one entity under public and private partnership, he said.
During his meeting with business community at the Federation House, the headquarters of Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) here, the minister said in pursuance of Prime Minister’s vision of public-private partnership he had come up with a new series of consultation meetings with traders and industrialists through their trade bodies; starting from the FPCCI.
He would also visit other main chambers of the country for this purpose so that a comprehensive strategy could be formulated to accelerate joint efforts for economic prosperity and development in the country, especially for the timely execution of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
After restoration of peace and security in the country through harmony in the civil and military leadership and with the support of the nation and after political stability, the Government is now focussing on better policies/plans and their continuity to ensure fast pace economic growth and development.
“Political stability and continuity of government policies do act as oxygen for economic prosperity and development of a country,” he remarked.
He said the law and order in Karachi and Balochistan is much better than two years back. The sense of deprivation among the people of Balochistan grew due to wrong policies and attitude of Gen. (Retd) Pervez Musharraf. Now, he said, the angry Baloch leaders are coming back to main political stream of the country.
He said because of the positive indicators in Pakistan, China first signed memorandum of understanding (MoU) in July 2013 for establishing China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and then the Chinese President during his visit to Pakistan on April 25, 2015 formally announced the launch of CPEC based on many projects with $ 46 billion investment; mainly in energy sector.
On this day, he added, the western media gave very positive reports and described Pakistan as a haven for investment. Now, investors from world over are coming to Pakistan.
He highlighted the importance of CPEC for the country and the region as a whole region. He especially appreciated the statement of the Chinese President that China wanted to develop a community of shared prosperity with Pakistan.
The minister informed the business community that the work on the western route of CPEC — from Gwadar to Kashgar – has been started. Besides, Gwadar is being linked to Sukkur. All this would benefit Balochistan’s people a lot.
Economic activities in Balochistan along these routes have already begun, which shows the confidence and interest of the people of Balochistan, he added.
He further said new international airport at Gwadar would be completed by the end of 2017. For establishing free trade zone, the land has been handed over to China, he added.
After addressing energy crisis and developing international standard’s infrastructure, the Government would focus on establishing strong industrial cooperation between Pakistan and China.
For inclusion of private sector in this drive as well, the trade bodies would be taken on board, he said. He said the Government has set exports target at $ 50 billion for next year. “Our target should be to increase our exports at least by ten billion dollars every year,” he added.
The Government is also taking every possible step to increase foreign direct investment (FDI), he said.
Prof. Ahsan Iqbal said the tax-GDP ratio would be enhanced to 18 per cent up to 2025, from the present 9.8 per cent. Many countries have increased this ratio to 20 per cent, he added.
He also emphasised on developing brands and focus on value- addition.
Prof. Ahsan Iqal urged the media to play their positive role and project Pakistan as an investment destination. “In near future, a code of ethics for media would be formed in consultation with the Broadcasters’ Association,” he added.
The minister also answered various queries of FPCCI members, also from Islamabad, Lahore and Quetta through video link.
Earlier, FPCCI President Mian Muhammad Adrees apprised the minister of various issues relating to trade and industry.
He also highlighted the role of the FPCCI in promoting trade and industry.