OSLO/ NORWAY: Pakistan has become one of the top five emerging economies in the world, said Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Ahsan Iqbal.
Iqbal, who is on an official visit to Norway, said Pakistan has exhibited one of the fastest growth rates in the last five years. He was interacting with Pakistani-Norwegians at an event organised by the Embassy on Friday.
Highlighting Pakistan's rapid economic development, the minister said a few years ago, Pakistan was not considered the safest place in the world, but now it is ranked among the fastest emerging economies in Asia.
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"Economic growth had stagnated at 3% when this government came into power. Last year, we achieved a growth rate of 5.3% and we are expecting it to reach 6% this year," said the minister, adding that the industrial growth had increased significantly due to the addition of 11,000MW of electricity to the national grid.
Referring to the greatly improved law and order situation in the country, Iqbal said, "Karachi had lost its status as a business and investment hub, but now target killings, land mafias and the culture of extortion are becoming a thing of the past. More than a hundred factories have resumed operations, reviving the entire economy of Karachi."
Talking about Balochistan, he said the situation had improved due to an unprecedented number of development projects initiated in the province. "The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a game-changer."
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He said that major infrastructure projects related to CPEC were being completed on schedule in-line with the policy of economic integration of the region as envisioned in the Pakistan Vision 2025.
Highlighting the important role of the diaspora in building Pakistan's economy, the minister termed foreign remittances 'a lifeline' for the country. Iqbal encouraged increased foreign investment by Pakistani-Norwegians and called upon them to become ambassadors of a rising Pakistan by prioritising research for the attainment of "knowledge supremacy" and to present a forward-looking image of Pakistan to the rest of the world.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 17th, 2018.
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