All impediments in way of FDI to be removed, says PM in WEF dialogue

Imran Khan says he is concerned about second Covid wave as 'people are not taking the virus seriously'

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that the government is committed to removing all impediments in the way of foreign investments in Pakistan so as to industrialise the country.

Speaking at Country Strategy Dialogue on Pakistan, organised by the World Economic Forum, through video-link, the prime minister said, “We are striving to deal with problems like bureaucratic red-tapism in order to encourage foreign investors to invest in Pakistan.”

He said that today’s Pakistan is all about wealth creation, where everyone will be welcomed to invest and industrialise the country. “This will definitely help lift the poor people out of poverty.”

The prime minister said that his government believes in facilitating public-private partnership to improve governance and strengthen the economy.

Highlighting his government’s achievements and challenges to stabilise the economy and save the people’s lives from Covid-19 pandemic, PM Imran said, “We opened up the construction and the agriculture sectors during the first wave of coronavirus. Besides, cash assistance was provided to 15 million families to help them in the time of crisis.”

He said about 80pc of Pakistani labour class belongs to informal sectors, which is why his government preferred smart lockdowns over across the board lockdown like in other countries.

“Now we are hitting the second peak of the virus and we have decided not to close our businesses; only non-essential sectors will be locked down to prevent people from the disease and hunger.”

He cited the record fiscal and current account deficits as the biggest challenges his government had to face upon assuming office.

“It took us a year and a half to bring down the deficits and introduce policies to boost the economy; exports are now improving, while foreign direct investment (FDI) and remittances are increasing continuously.”

The PM said the government gave incentives to the business community and now the textile industry of the country is running at full capacity.

He said although the government managed to save the economy and people from the virus, he was more worried about the second wave of the virus, as people were not taking it seriously.

On money laundering, the premier said that his government has clamped down hard on launderers, as a result of which Pakistan witnessed a current account surplus in July-Sept 200 quarter after 17 years.

Shedding light on Indo-Pak ties, Imran said that Pakistan has persisting problems with India. “Hopefully, with proper leadership in India, relations will return to normal.”

Reiterating that Pakistan is a major player in the US-Taliban talks, the premier noted that the two parties have agreed to discuss issues on a table through the assistance of Islamabad.

He said he aspired to see peace prevail in Afghanistan as a result of the US-Taliban peace talks that took place after years of bloodshed. “Peace in Afghanistan will benefit surrounding areas,” he said.

“President Trump has done well in Afghanistan,” PM Imran said. “Hopefully, [President-elect Joe] Biden will not back down from [the] good work in Afghanistan.”

 

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