ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on Thursday urged Turkish entrepreneurs and businessmen to take advantage of Pakistan’s business-friendly climate and bring in investments in energy, infrastructure and agriculture sectors.
Addressing a Pakistan-Turkey businessmen roundtable conference organized by the Board of Investment (BOI) here, the prime minister also urged the Turkish businessmen to also benefit from China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), that had brought about $ 46 billion investment to Pakistan.
“With the large scale industrial parks and zones that are going to be built along the corridor, we are confident that it will trigger unprecedented industrial and commercial activity in Pakistan.”
“We would like our friends in Turkey to become part of this economic development programme by exploring and exploiting massive investment opportunities that CPEC (China Pakistan Economic Corridor) is bringing to Pakistan,” the Prime Minister told the Turkish businessmen.
Besides the businessmen from Pakistan and Turkey, the roundtable event was also attended by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Speaking about the economic achievements made by Pakistan during the last over three years, the Prime Minister said: “With commendable efforts of our economic team led by our Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, our economy has bounced back to stability during the last three years of this government’s term.”
He said, “inflationary pressures have receded, fiscal deficit has remained well within target, confidence in exchange rate management has been restored and there has been a substantial increase in foreign exchange reserves.”
The Prime Minister said during this period the country’s stock market had remained buoyant, and was being regarded as one of the best performing markets of the region.
“Healthy growth is taking place and its rate is increasing. As a result international rating agencies have upgraded Pakistan’s economic outlook as well as its ratings. Pakistan is also among this year’s global top ten improvers in ease of doing business index 2017,” he added.
The Prime Minister informed that his government was focussed on energy crisis and they were confident that by the start of 2018 they will completely overcome the power shortage.
“We have also started importing LNG (Liquified Natural Gas) and we are setting up more LNG port terminals in private sector including the one being set up by our Turkish friends,” he added. Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif said China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that had a huge portfolio of about $ 46 billion Chinese investment in energy and infrastructure projects in Pakistan, was soon going to be a reality.
“Its essence is to connect deep seaport of Gwadar in South West Balochistan province and industrial hubs in North West China. Gwadar is going to be connected to Central Asia through China and Afghanistan,” he added.
The Prime Minister said the present government was working hard on social development and reform agenda. “We are constantly improving the education and health services to our people,” he added.
“We are on way to reform corporate sector,” he said and added the new companies law which has successfully been enforced and the reduction in the corporate tax rates were the major steps forward.
“We are trying to ensure that Pakistan remains competitive as a choice destination for investments,” he added.
The Prime Minister said the government was fully cognizant of the challenges posed by the changing international economic environment. “We are determined to meet these challenges head -on and are doing all that is required. Our efforts have already started yielding results,” he added.
The Prime Minister expressed his belief that a stable macro-economic and security environment in Pakistan will not only trigger growth and progress in the country but was also in the larger interest of the region.
“Those of few who are keen observers of Pakistani market would be well aware of the immense potential that it offers. The sound institutional framework in place and the unwavering commitment of the government to protect investments should add to your comfort in investing in Pakistan,” he maintained.
The Prime Minister said that he saw a lot of opportunities for the Turkish private sector in Pakistan and also vice versa.
He expressed his confidence that the roundtable event would go a long way towards exploring opportunities and creating new avenues of trade and investment both in Turkey and Pakistan.
“This event also gives us the opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to work together for the economic growth of both our countries. I am specially happy that the interaction today would further the objective of promoting closer economic ties between the two countries,” he added.
The Prime Minister recalled his address to a very well attended business forum in Istanbul in September 2013, and the subsequent forums in December 2013, and February 2015 at Lahore and Islamabad and said: “Today’s roundtable must be an occasion for careful stock-taking, assessing how far we have come since then and what further we can do.”
He said the democratic governments in Pakistan and Turkey have jointly brought about a fundamental transformation in the bilateral relationship in all areas encompassing political, economic, defence and social spheres.
The Prime Minister said the representative business delegation accompanying the Turkish President was not only a firm endorsement of President Erdogan to Pakistan but also demonstrated Turkish businessmen’s confidence in investment-friendly business environment of Pakistan.
“I wish to thank my Turkish friends for their well-placed trust in Pakistan and its people,” he added.
About close Pak-Turkey ties, the Prime Minister said, “Words cannot do justice to the special bonds that exist between Pakistan and Turkey” as these are rooted in common faith, customs and cultures. “Our joys and sorrows, our trials and tragedies are intersect. And the people are bound by a distinct sense of shared destiny,” he added.