Miftah reaffirms conducive business environment for investors

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ISLAMABAD: Minister for Finance Dr Miftah Ismail Monday reaffirmed the government’s commitment to providing a conducive business environment for local and foreign investors to achieve the double-digit GDP growth target.

Addressing an event titled “Conference towards 9 per cent GDP growth”, he said after a long stagnant GDP growth of last several years, the country had achieved 5.4 per cent growth and it had reached to 5.8 per cent during the current fiscal year.

He said economic growth at the rate of 5 to 6 per cent was not enough to meet the economic challenges, adding that about 8 to 9 per cent GDP growth was a prerequisite for absorbing the growing need of employment and to fulfill the demands of an emerging middle class.

Due to the gradual increase in national economy during the last five years, Pakistan was emerging as a middle class economy and by 2050 it would be ranked among the 5th largest middle class economy of the world, he observed.

The minister further said the emerging middle class in the country was providing opportunities for foreign investors in manufacturing and other sectors, adding that it would also enhance the capacity of the local manufacturing sector.

Dr Miftah also highlighted the measures being introduced by the government in federal budget 2018-19, besides the tax reforms in order to reduce the tax burden from the existing tax payers and measures taken for broadening the tax base in the country.

He said special tax incentives were offered for the local industrial sector to enhance the exports of the country as well as to produce the imports substitute to reduce the growing current account deficit.

He said the government had established special economic zones under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Project (CPEC), adding that foreign investors were keen to invest in those zones as the government was offering 17 per cent rate of return in energy generation projects.

Speaking at the occasion, Minister of State and Chairman of Board of Investment Naeem Y Zamindar said Pakistan was the 6th largest country of the world and its share in world GDP was only 0.3 per cent.

He said it had a growing middle class and an encouraging investment trend as about 95 per cent investment was domestic, adding that large chunk of foreign investment was going to oil, gas exploration and energy sector.

He said improving the security situation in the country as well as the energy supply for the industrial sector was offering foreign investors to explore the liberal investment opportunities in different sectors of the economy.

Further addind, he said the economic growth of the country was recognized by the international rating agencies and forecasted that Pakistan would become one of the top 20 economies of the world by 2020 and 15th by 2050.

He further said a recent survey conducted by the Japan had said that Pakistan was as safe as the US and called upon the foreign investors to invest here and take the advantage of the opportunities being introduced by the government.

Speaking in the conference, ambassadors of China, Germany, Japan and Turkey expressed the hope that Pakistan had the enormous resources to achieve 9 per cent GDP growth by exploiting its demographic dividends as about 64 percent of its population was comprising on youth.

They stressed the need for projecting the true image of Pakistan at international level as they said that the image being presented there was unfair, unjust and not reflecting the ground realities.