–Imran says reform process may be ‘painful and time-taking’, but govt is determined to bring change
–PM invites Facebook to invest in Pakistan’s tech startups
DAVOS: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday expressed confidence that good times were ahead for Pakistan as the country had been put on the right economic track with a particular emphasis on industrialisation.
Speaking to the prominent business personalities at the Pakistan Breakfast Meet in Davos, he said his vision was to turn Pakistan into a welfare state and ensure development as envisioned by the founding fathers.
He said the present government was spending money to revive industries by encouraging and giving them incentives. “We want to promote industrialization so that wealth is created, and the money is spent on the poor segments of the society.”
The premier informed the audience that his government had launched the country’s largest and most comprehensive poverty alleviation program ‘Ehsaas’ with allocation of Rs190 billion.
Referring to the challenges including corruption, high debt and degeneration of institutions the county faces currently, the prime minister said his first year in power had remained remarkable despite those challenges.
Terming the reduction in the current account deficit by 75 per cent ‘a great achievement’, the premier said the success was now reflected in rupee stabilization, rising stock market and foreign investment.
He said the process of reforms, which was usually “painful and time-taking”, had been initiated to bring change, adding “we will stick to it while showing courage, political will and welcoming criticism”.
PM Imran Khan noted the country had the potential to excel given its vast natural resources like at Reko Dik as well as its dynamic human resources.
He said overseas Pakistanis were the country’s greatest asset and the government was trying to create an enabling environment for them to come back.
Earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan met with renowned global mobile operator GSMA’s Director General Mats Granyrd on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting.
GSMA’s cooperation in realising the vision of Digital Pakistan was discussed during the meeting keeping in view the government’s programme to accelerate growth of information technology sector, a statement issued by the Prime Minister Office read.
The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting over 750 operators with 400 companies in mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies.
Meanwhile, Telenor Chairperson Gunn Waersted and Chief Executive Officer Sigve Brekke called on Prime Minister Imran Khan on the sidelines of the WEF annual meeting 2020.
The premier appreciated Telenor’s confidence in Pakistan due to its presence in the country since 2005 with an investment of around $3.5 billion.
He also emphasized the government’s focus on investment in the training and development of youth for skills enhancement.
Discussions were held on enhancing application of digital solutions for good governance, poverty alleviation thorough use of connectivity and increased economic transactions through mobile.
Telenor reiterated its strong commitment to Pakistan’s IT sector and shared their ideas on developing the sector in Pakistan.
PM’s Adviser on Revenue and Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Special Adviser to Prime Minister Syed Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari, Ambassador at Large on Investments Ali Jehangir Siddiqui and Governor State Bank Raza Baqir were also present on the occasion.
‘INVESTMENT IN TECH INCUBATORS’
Separately, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg also called on Prime Minister Imran Khan on the sidelines of the WEF annual meeting.
The prime minister invited Facebook to consider investments to support Pakistan in tech incubators and to help with digital literacy initiatives.
The prime minister was of the view that the social media platforms should establish third party fact checking services for more responsible digital journalism.
The Facebook COO extended invitation to PM Imran Khan to visit the Facebook headquarters.
SAPM Syed Zulfiqar Bukhari, Ambassador at Large on Investments Ali Jehangir Siddiqui, State Bank of Pakistan Governor Raza Baqir and Head of Digital Pakistan Tania Aidrus were also present.
Prime Minister Imran Khan also held a meeting with EU Parliament President David Sassoli and discussed issues related to GSP plus for Pakistan.