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ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information, Broadcasting, National Heritage and Culture, Attaullah Tarar, on Friday, while emphasising that the economy and the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) are crucial for Pakistan's development, expressed optimism about the country's future investment prospects.

During a press conference alongside Federal Minister for Commerce Jam Kamal, Tarar said, "economy is our lifeline and redline, directly tied to millions of jobs."

He highlighted the government's commitment to reducing inflation, securing a bright future for the youth, and boosting exports and foreign reserves.

Tarar criticised certain elements attempting to undermine these efforts, predicting their failure. He credited Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif's investor outreach initiatives for visible economic stabilisation and ongoing efforts to create a welcoming environment for foreign investors.

The minister condemned the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leadership for actions he described as harmful to national interests and misleading during a critical period. Despite such opposition, Tarar assured that foreign investment is on its way, citing a recent $10 billion pledge from the UAE.

Tarar pointed out a coordinated social media attack on the SIFC, coinciding with the UAE's investment announcement. He lamented the unprecedented presentation of a provincial budget before the federal one, a move he claimed could mislead the public about federal receivables.

Highlighting the significance of the SIFC, Tarar said, "It is the lifeline of the country," noting that three chief ministers are actively working for the public's welfare, while one is causing chaos. He expressed hope that the SIFC would attract significant foreign direct investment.

He praised Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif's historic visit to the UAE, where the warm reception from UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed underscored the UAE's confidence in Pakistan's current leadership. The UAE's commitment of $10 billion was described as a major achievement for both the government and the SIFC.

Tarar noted that political opponents were distressed by these economic and diplomatic successes. He highlighted the simplification of the investment process through the SIFC, which eliminated the need for investors to navigate multiple ministries.

The minister reiterated that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif's foreign visits focus on securing investment rather than aid or loans, recognising Pakistan's potential and resources. Recent agreements with the UAE companies in the IT sector were mentioned as examples of successful private sector collaboration.

Tarar also acknowledged the challenges faced a year and a half ago due to the fluctuating dollar rate and difficulties for exporters. However, he pointed out that discussions with countries such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE have resulted in multiple investment agreements. He credited PM Shehbaz, the SIFC, and Chief of Army Staff General Syed Asim Munir with playing crucial roles in preventing economic default and addressing economic issues.

The minister concluded by noting positive signs in the economy, such as increasing exports according to the State Bank of Pakistan, and the promising feedback from a high-level Saudi delegation during a recent visit.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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