Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Friday Pakistan’s future prosperity and economic development was linked largely with peace and security in the region.
“Peace is vital for development and development is essential for durable peace,” he said while talking to a group of businessmen at a breakfast meeting in Davos, Switzerland.
Around 100 participants of the 46th World Economic Forum (WEF) attended the event, where Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir, PM’s Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi and Miftah Ismail were also present.
PM Nawaz assured prospective investors his government was committed to overcoming all challenges confronting the country, and invited them to put in their money in the country, promising them all possible assistance.
“Building a peaceful neighbourhood is central to the realisation of Pakistan’s vision for regional peace and economic prosperity,” PM Nawaz said, adding that Pakistan desires to forge cooperative relations with India in the interest of the people of the two countries and of the region.
“We believe dialogue is the only way forward to resolve all outstanding issues, paving the way for realising the growth potential of South Asia.
Mentioning the bilateral ties with Afghanistan, he said Pakistan was sincerely committed to peace and stability with its western neighbour as well.
“Pakistan is supporting various reconstruction and development projects in Afghanistan,” he added. “We also wish the international community remains engaged in supporting Afghanistan’s reconstruction and economic development.”
“Our vision is of a Pakistan, which is business-friendly; a Pakistan where foreign investors feel safe; and a Pakistan which is modern, progressive and forward-looking,” he said.
A comprehensive National Action Plan against terrorism has been implemented, he said. The plan provides for a multi-pronged strategy, combining military action, law enforcement operations, choking terrorist financing, and countering the extremist narrative.
He said the security situation in Pakistan had improved significantly. “The Pakistan of 2016 is a confident and safe country, open for business, trade and investment. We assure you of ease of business and healthy dividends on your investments in Pakistan,” he added.
“My government will extend all possible assistance to you in your business endeavours in Pakistan,” the premier vowed while sharing his vision for a progressive Pakistan.
“Our primary objective is to create an environment conducive for investment inflows,” he said. “We offer a liberal investment policy, which includes 100 percent equity ownership, full repatriation of capital, tax breaks and customs duty concessions on import of machinery and raw materials.”
PM Nawaz also shared the lenient taxation policies with the investors, offering them prospects of co-production, joint ventures with local partners and joint marketing arrangements.
He added Pakistan’s economic upturn had been acknowledged and appreciated worldwide. “Leading international publications, fund managers and rating agencies have made positive assessments of our economic turnaround,” he said.
He said Pakistan was also taking steps to overcome the energy crisis through increase in power generation, use of better technologies in power distribution, controlling line losses, energy conservation, and diversifying the energy mix.
“Given our geo-strategic location, we are well-placed to act as the prime movers for promoting regional connectivity,” PM Nawaz believed, sharing the details of the regional projects launched recently like the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline, the Central Asia-South Asia (CASA) 1000 electricity project and the Torkham-Jalalabad Road.
Professor Klaus Schwab, the WEF chairman, lauded the economic turnaround of Pakistan, saying the country had undergone a positive change in the past two years.
Schwab made these comments at the WEF Congress Centre during a meeting with PM Nawaz.
“There was no hope in 2013, but we now hear from the business community and the world that there is a lot of change in Pakistan,” he said.
Premier Nawaz also gave him an overview of the positive indicators of Pakistan’s economy and how it was being perceived by top international financial institutions.
Schwab is the executive chairman of the WEF, which he founded in 1971. The forum has been a driver of reconciliation efforts in different parts of the world, acting as a catalyst of numerous collaborations and international initiatives.
Meanwhile, PM Nawaz also met Bill Winters, the group chief executive of Standard Chartered, and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands on the sidelines of the WEF summit.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 23rd, 2016.
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