Finance Minister Asad Umar said the government is working on restructuring economy’s fundamentals and strengthening regulatory regimes by appointing qualified individuals local as well as overseas Pakistanis at policy boards. These measures will eventually improve functional efficiency of all national institutions and help attain sustainable long-term economic development of the country.
While Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that priority of present government is to revitalise the national economy. Six months ago when Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) came into power, the party inherited a lot of challenges, including corruption, flight of capital, and other socio-economic ills, which needed to be addressed.
Addressing a two-day Leaders in Islamabad Business Summit, he said that government has formed a five-member committee to appoint competent professionals to improve efficiencies of government organisations. He was addressing Leaders in Islamabad Business Summit’ here that brought together the most distinguished global leaders, business strategists, innovators, thinkers and futurists here for two days. Nutshell Forum and Martin Dow arranged the event. Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that the PTI economic team, under the leadership of Finance Minister Asad Umar, took various steps for economic uplift of the country during the first six months of the present government.
Over 50 international delegates participated in the event, and through various panel discussions, shared their ideas on a wide range of subjects, including, The geopolitical backdrop, The future of work, The future of diversity and inclusion, Future world, through responsive leadership.
Abacus Consulting, Pakistan’s leading advisory and technology consultancy, partnered with Nutshell Forum to present the third edition of the ‘Leaders in Islamabad Business Summit’ as part of its ambition to align itself as the industry leader in executive leadership development. In line with this goal, earlier this year, Abacus entered a partnership with the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), a US-based global executive development institution that develops leaders and helps them make the journey to top management positions.
The national and international delegates, and honorable guests included Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Federal Minister for Finance & Economic Affairs, Asad Umar, Federal Minister & Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce, Textile, Investment and Industries & Production, Abdul Razak Dawood, and the Minister of State for HRD & Overseas Pakistanis, Syed Zulfikar Abbas Bukhari.
Finance Minister said the regulatory regime has been strengthened as best professionals of the field were taken on the policy board of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan. In order to promote friendly tax culture and facilitate tax-payers, members from the private sector have been included in the policy board of the Federal Board of Revenue. Besides, he said the government has also appointed overseas Pakistanis as heads of different national organisations including National Bank of Pakistan, Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited, National Investment Trust and other national institutions on merit without any political consideration.
The minister said that small and medium sector (SME) enterprises are facing access-to-credit issues but the government is taking steps to address them by facilitating supply and provision of easy loans. He said that government is also upgrading technology in order to overcome tax theft issue by introducing a track-and-trace system which will be introduced next month. In first phase, the system would be applied in tobacco sector to check under-invoicing.
He said that intra agency communication between National Registration and Database Authority and the FBR will be strengthened in order to bring potential taxpayers into the tax net. Highlighting government’s steps to promote exports, the minister said that multiple sectors have been facilitated and the results from textile sector would commence by April onwards. He said exports are likely to increase due to these measures while adding that the agreement with China would also be finalised at the earliest. The minister said that long-term financing for textile sector would also be increased which currently stands at Rs1.5 billion.
Foreign Affairs said, imagining the unimaginable is a wonderful theme because it makes you think beyond the boundaries of reality and helps you do wonders and things that seem simply impossible to do. The foreign minister maintained that the government is taking measures to create conducive environment in the country to promote foreign direct investment (FDI) and these steps have already paid the dividends.
He mentioned that 125 countries would benefit from the new regime with ease in getting visas. He further said the United Arab Emirates is taking keen interest in making investment in different sectors in Pakistan, while Qatar also planned to invest in the country’s food processing industry. The government plans to make Pakistan a hub of business and investment in the region.
He said that Saudi Arab investment of $20 billion in development projects is a milestone for the country towards achieving economic stability. He said Pakistan has promoted bilateral trade with Iran, China and other countries of the region. China is our strategic partner and we want to transform this relationship into an economic partnership, he said.
He maintained that Special Economic Zones under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would encourage foreign investment, leading to sustainable development. Qureshi lauded the European foreign ministers and parliamentarians for supporting Pakistan in securing GSP Plus facility for its exports.
Responding to relations with India, Qureshi said his government after assuming the power offered New Delhi a hand of friendship and asked for foreign ministers meeting at the sidelines of UN General Assembly to resolve all outstanding issues between the two neighbouring countries through dialogue.
Talks between the two countries on opening of Kartarpur Corridor, being held at Attari (India) on Thursday (today), are meant for peace in the region, he added. He said Pakistan is a developing country but absence of a proper administrative mechanism led to approach the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the past.
The country is facing the challenges including 6.6 percent fiscal deficit, burden of loans, decline in foreign investment, unemployment and one-third of population living below poverty line like problems, he said. The foreign minister also said that Pakistan desires peace in Afghanistan and the government is facilitating Afghan peace process in this direction.