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LAHORE: President of Pakistan Dr Arif Alvi has said that peace is a key to achieve increased economic cooperation among the regional countries including the Central Asian Republics. Issue of Kashmir would have to be resolved to establish a sustainable peace in the region.

He was speaking at the “LCCI Ambassadors Dinner – 2021” arranged at the President’s House, Islamabad the other day. LCCI President Mian Tariq Misbah presented the address of welcome while Vice President Tahir Manzoor Chaudhry, Convener LCCI Standing Committee on Foreign Missions, Diplomatic and Embassies Liaison Ahmed Elahi, former LCCI Presidents, Executive Committee Members, Ambassadors, High Commissioners and representatives of around 40 countries and high government officials attended this prestigious ceremony.

Dr Arif Alvi said that regional countries desire the promotion of trade and economic cooperation in the region for which peace is a must. He said that peace in this region cannot be established until and unless dispute of Kashmir is not resolved.

He said that owing to present government’s prudent economic policies including the measures for ease of doing business, Pakistan is on the path of economic recovery and has performed well despite the COVID-19 challenge.

The President also mentioned recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for Uzbekistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan Rail project from Mazar-e-Sharif to Peshawar through Kabul and said the realization of the project will provide a trade corridor for the promotion of regional trade. He added that Pakistan and Central Asian states are promoting aerial and land routes.

He said that the policies have been designed in a manner to ensure a conducive business environment for domestic and foreign investors in Pakistan.

Dr Arif Alvi said the government adopted a practical policy during coronavirus pandemic to avoid losses to the businesses and the economy.

He said that the government has introduced various programmes for the youth so that they can play a key role in economic development of the country. He said it is necessary to bring women folk in mainstream for national development besides creating job opportunities for them. He added that special persons should also be made part of the social and economic activities. He said that there is a huge potential in information technology and tourism sectors of Pakistan.

LCCI President Mian Tariq Misbah appreciated the role of foreign diplomats in developing better diplomatic, social and economic relations between Pakistan and their respective countries.

He highlighted the key feature of Pakistan’s economy that has shown remarkable development during the last one year and emerged out of the trap of negative growth rates. He said that our GDP growth rate which was negative 0.47% in 2019-20 improved to 3.94% in 2020-21. Similarly the growth rate of our large scale industry surpassed 9% in 2020-21 while the construction and retail sectors are growing above 8%. The prudent policies of the Government have played an important part in putting our economy on the road to recovery, especially in the challenging times of COVID-19 when the world in engulfed in an economic recession.

“We are affirmative that Pakistan will be able to achieve the growth rate of 6-7% in next 2-3 years and become a competitive economy as envisaged by the Prime Minister”, he added.

Mian Tariq Misbah said that Pakistan is located in close proximity to high growth potential economies in the Arabian Gulf and Central Asian Republics. Considering the better pace of infrastructural development all across the country under CPEC projects, many countries are taking keen interest in investing in Pakistan which is all set to become a regional trade and energy corridor.

He said that the Government in collaboration with private sector is focusing heavily on the Ease of Doing Business and removing the regulatory barriers faced by the investors. He said that Pakistan is an attractive destination for investment and joint ventures in the sectors of Pharmaceuticals, Automotive Parts, Renewable Energy, Information Technology, Halal Food, Basmati Rice, Marbles, Home Appliances and Light Engineering Products. There is also a special potential for investment in Construction sector, Mobile Device Manufacturing and Electric Vehicles Manufacturing as the Government has introduced special policy framework for these sectors.

The LCCI President said that Lahore Chamber is known as an important destination of the appointed ambassadors in Pakistan. This institution has always tried to play a vital role in establishing trade ties with other countries. Holding of this dinner is a step ahead of the same agenda.

“We request our friends from the international diplomatic community to project a soft and real image of Pakistan in their countries. We also request the international media to portray a positive image of Pakistan. For your respective countries and investors, you are the most authentic source of verifying the facts and we look forward to you for sharing an impartial opinion about Pakistan”, Mian Tariq Misbah said.

The LCCI President further stated that business community truly value the European Commission’s decision of extending GSP Plus status till 2023 for Pakistan. Due to the duty concessions offered under the GSP Plus, Pakistan’s exports to EU have reached 8 billion dollars which are more than 30% of our total exports. The honourable diplomatic community will certainly appreciate it that our federal and provincial governments have remained fully committed to implement the 27 international conventions related to GSP Plus and despite all the challenges, have taken a number of measures over the years in this connection with the full support of private sector.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021


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