Int’l investors are availing of opportunities in Pakistan: Naeem Zamindar; Ambassadors of China, Turkey and Azerbaijan highlight country’s economic potential
Advisor on Finance Dr Miftah Ismail said on Monday that Pakistan was the biggest producer of a number of agricultural products like wheat, cotton and others. He further said that the incumbent government had doubled the GDP growth rate in last five years and current GDP growth rate 5.8 was the highest in last 13 years. Country’s economy has the potential to grow by 10% annually and if economic policies and reforms, introduced by the government in economic and taxation sectors, continued in future, the higher growth target can easily be achieved in years ahead
He was addressing as Chief guest, RTC-II organized by Pakistan Observer on ‘Pakistan Paradise for Investment.
He said, Pakistan’s exports have increased with the ratio of 24% in the previous month and it will continue posting increase by 20% in coming months too. Although our economy is sound and doing well yet we will have to achieve 10% GDP growth rate to provide jobs for our immense human workforce. Around 10000 megawatts power has been added to the national grid and plants of same quantity have been installed in last five years he maintained.
Dr Miftah Ismail said that the incumbent government had introduced a number of economic reforms to document the economy especially the real state sector. Through tax amnesty scheme, we have reduced the tax rate by increasing the minimum threshold for income for income tax. Furthermore, no one will be able to buy a property or apartment if one is not taxpayer by July 2020. He said that with the help of NADRA, we have moved a list of one million potential taxpayers to the Federal Board of Revenue FBR along with a list of separate one million possible taxpayers; it will help broadening of tax base. In this regard, help has been taken from NADRA on the basis of lifestyle of those people.
“To reduce the tax evasion on property transactions” he said that laws had been proposed to authorize the federal government to procure any property at 100% higher rates than the shown by the land purchaser. It will help in the checking misdeclaration as well as under invoicing of the prices of land during transactions and documentation of real estate sector in next two years. In a bid to streamline the foreign remittances, he said that only a taxpayer would be able to open a bank account in Pakistan. Thus the revenue collection will increase by 6% next year.
Addressing the RTC, Chairman Board of Investment (BoI) Naeem Zamindar said that Pakistani economy had taken off because of the ever increasing ratio of Pakistani youth as population wise Pakistan was the 6th largest country in the world. Now a company can be registered online instead of 28 days and a bank account can be opened just 15 seconds of time. Economy will be further transformed in next ten years. Similarly, China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is an engine to streamline Chinese supply chain and it will make Pakistan a hub of regional and international economic integration
He said that Pakistan would be among top 50 countries of the world with ease of doing business in future because major reforms were in the pipeline in this regard. International investment firms are now looking towards Pakistan to avail the investment opportunities in the post Brexit era. He further said that aviation city would be established near Kamra to promote the aviation industry in Pakistan and it would be part of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) under the flagship of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Executive Director General BoI, Saleem Ahmad Ranjha said that some 16000 kilometer long roads and highways had been laid in Pakistan in last five years. Similarly, some 8000 megawatts power has been added to the national grid as well as the number of smart phones in the country has also soared to 50 million because Pakistan has the third largest middle class in the world. GDP growth rate has touched the figure of 5.8 while total tune of GDP has reached to Rs 3 trillion; therefore Pakistan has entered in the category of ten emerging economies of the world. Pakistan will be among the 20 top economies of the world by 2030.
He said that due to the geo strategic location of Pakistan, the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would prove a real game changer for the entire region due to its productive impacts on industrial investment. In this connection, SEZs will play the real role. Currently, new international players are coming to Pakistan to invest in automobile sector. He said that around 59% population of Pakistan was under the age of 25 which provided huge workforce for economic revolution. He also highlighted tourism potential of Pakistan along with economic and investment.
The Chairman Fiscal Laws Committee of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP) Ashfaq Yousaf Tola, while speaking on the occasion, said that Pakistan was a land of opportunities with unique features as its 37% population was below the 25 years of age. Tax to GDP growth rate was 10.5%, the highest in the region. Tax amnesty scheme will boost the economic development pace as well as ensure repatriation of assets from the foreign. We have doubled the revenue collection targets in last five years and now we will achieve the 10% GDP growth rate in next five years. But we will have to control the currency depreciation along with the current account deficit by lowering the tune of imports.
Chairman Al Ghurair Group Pakistan Haji Muhammad Rafiq Giga Pardesi, while speaking at the RTC said that with growing interests of Europeans and Russians to invest in Pakistan, a country of 200 million was surrounded by the three billion population of the world. We have also 60% youth an immense human workforce a basic yardstick for growth of any economy and this youth must be utilized positively to avert its misuse. Pakistan possesses immense mineral reserves especially of gold while being close to the world’s top gold buyers; China and India.
Ambassador of China Yao Jing said Pakistan had a huge potential for investment and business to turn into a paradise for investment. He particularly mentioned Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s recent address at the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) earlier this month (April 9-10, 2018). PM Khaqan Abbasi in his address gave a recipe for progress and invited the foreign businesses and investment companies to invest in Pakistan which is now among the top 5 fast-growing economies of the world. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is a sign of confidence in your country’s economy and its future, said the Chinese ambassador. Even China, which is the second largest economy of the world takes various measures to attract investment, said he. At BFA, President Xi Jinping also described investment as fresh air for the country’s economy, said, Ambassador Yao Jing.
In the backdrop of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), he said the CPEC was going to become a hub of investment. He particularly mentioned four sectors which are the hallmark of the CPEC and can attract huge investment. They are Gwadar development, energy development, infrastructure development (construction of railways, motorways and highways), and joint development of Special Economic Zones (SEZ). According to the Chinese ambassador, each sector has a huge investment potential and already a number of local and Chinese companies are investing millions of dollars in various projects under the CPEC framework. Ambassador of China also called for measures to support skill and training-based business ventures, employing local unemployed community, particularly youth. At the end of his speech, Chinese ambassador appealed to international partners to let business and investment flourish in the country.
Ambassador Ihsan Mustafa Yurdakul of Turkey in his address lauded Pakistan’s efforts in the economic fields. He said, Pakistan has all the potential for rapid socio-economic development. He assured the government and people of Pakistan on behalf of his country that Turkey will always feel proud to collaborate with Pakistan to share economic development and prosperity for the people of the two countries. He made mention of economic development of his country over the past decade. He was of firm belief that cooperation between Pakistan and his country will be of mutual benefit for the two countries. He said, Pakistan and Turkey enjoy cordial and brotherly relations and these relations will continue to grow.
Ambassador of Republic of Azerbaijan, Ali Alizada also spoke high of Pakistan’s tremendous business and investment opportunities. Pakistan has a huge 208 million consumer-based economy and Special Economic Zones under the CPEC are a big attraction for investment. He particularly mentioned the sectors relating to Pakistan’s education, health and infrastructure development. These areas by and large are still unexplored and can be catapulted by investments. He referred to the GDP growth of 5.3pc which again was a sign of booming economy. Pakistan by all definitions of an emerging economy can be called an ideal place, rather a paradise for investment, he said. The country’s credit rating has grown significantly and there is a boom in tourism, energy and service structure, said H.E. Ali Alizada, Ambassador of Azerbaijan. About Pak-Azerbaijan ties, he said there were a number of joint ventures between the two countries not only in traditional trade and business sectors but also in energy, industry and technology sectors. The business and trade community of the two countries should take maximum advantage of the ideal investment climate in Pakistan and play their positive role, he summed up.
Deputy General Secretary, China State Construction Engineering Corporation Limited (CSCEC), Mr. Li Liangyuan said CSCEC was the world’s largest construction company and had to its credit projects such as New Islamabad Airport, Centaurus Mall, Sukkur-Multan Highway and others. Under One-Belt-One-Road initiative of President Xi Jinping, CPEC is the flagship project and offers huge potential for investment, he said. There are a number of projects along the CPEC that too are being carried out by the Chinese investment companies and entrepenuers, he said. “We look forward to constructing more high rise buildings, roads and highways in the backdrop of the friendly and favourable economic conditions in Pakistan,” he said. Mr. Li Liangyuan also put forward a number of suggestions like improvement in efficiency of relevant government sectors, improvement in service structure, fast-track work on development projects and friendly tax environment.
CEO of Rostrum, Mirza Shahnawaz Agha began his speech with a quote of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah in which the Founder of Pakistan on Aug 14, 1948 had said that Nature had given us everything and he wished the fellow Pakistanis Godspeed. For a robust economy, we need to focus on corporate agriculture, skilled labour, tax free regime, women participation and above all tax holiday for all new (as well as those who are non-existent in the country) entrepreneurs.
CEO of Kenlubes International, Mian Zahid Hussain while congratulating Pakistan Observer for holding RTC on a very important subject said credit for peaceful economic activities in the country and return of investors goes to the security agencies under the leader of the Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa. He also congratulated Gen Nasser Janjua for eradicating terrorism from Balochistan and for restoring normalcy there. Under the leadership of first Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and now PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi the government has by and large overcome the energy crisis that is again a good sign for investment, he said. CPEC fruits of $62 billion are being witnessed by the people and there is a huge economic activity in the country in the form of construction of railways, motorways and highways. He also welcomed establishment of Special Economic Zones and uplift in business and social sectors. He also called for investment in women-skill development as women form 52pc of our total population and training of youth who form around 35pc of our population. In short, Pakistan has unique opportunities for investment, he said and in the days to come investors’ confidence will further grow.
Earlier in welcome address Mr. Faisal Zahid Malik, Editor-in-Chief, Pakistan Observer, thanked Dr. Miftah Ismail, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance, Lt Gen (Retd) Nasser Khan Janjua, Advisor to the Prime Minister on National Security and Mr. Naeem Y. Zamindar, Chairman BOI. He was also thankful to ambassadors and diplomats of China, Turkey, Iran, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Morocco, Yemen, Italy, Deputy Head of Mission of United Kingdom, Deputy Head of Mission of Germany, Economic Counsellor and Economic Officer of the American Embassy and Economic Counsellor of Japan and diplomats of other embassies for participation. He was sure that their respective countries are keenly looking forward to investing in Pakistan. He recalled that on September 08, 2015 Pakistan Observer had the privilege to host first Round Table Conference on Investment in Islamabad in which President of Pakistan H.E. Mr. Mamnoon Hussain, participated as Chief Guest. He quoted from the welcome address of his father late Mr. Zahid Malik. Quote:“Dear guests! Many of you who know me well may kindly recall that I have been claiming and predicting and that too clearly and loudly for the last few years, and it is my faith as well, that Pakistan will take a new turn, a bright turn. Alhamdulillah, Pakistan has taken a new turn. Today’s Pakistan is a different Pakistan if compared with pre-June 2013 Pakistan. The contours of the real and bright face of Pakistan are now quite visible. I am sure that today the soul of the founder of Pakistan, Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, must be happy and proud as well that Pakistan has started marching towards the ideals set by him.” Unquote
Mr. Zahid Malik was a man of vision who initiated such high level investment conferences in the past with a purpose to give an opportunity to all stake-holders to sit under one roof to bring forth creative and innovative ideas to put national economy on high pedestal.
He said, his Illustrious father had a passion to promote Islamic Banking in Pakistan. He held three very successful Round Table Conferences on Islamic Banking. “Insha Allah our fourth RTC on Islamic Banking will be held before Ramzan next month in Karachi.
Mr. Faisal Zahid Malik assured the participants of the RTC-II that Pakistan Observer will continue to play a role in creating a conducive and investment-friendly atmosphere in Pakistan. He announced that Pakistan Observer will soon be launching its TV Channel with the name of Observer Television Network (OTV) to further invigorate its mission.
Executive Editor, Pakistan Observer, Mr. Gauhar Zahid Malik and Mr. Umar Zahid Malik also attended the conference.
Concluding the conference, Mr. Najmul Islam, Senior News Editor, Pakistan Observer presented vote of the thanks.