Pakistan Aiming At 6% GDP Growth, Haroon Tells Turkish Investors
Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Revenue and Federal Minister, Haroon Akhtar Khan said Thursday that the government was aiming at a 6 percent GDP growth this year on the basis of strong economic indicators.
” Our economy has done very well and we are aiming for 6 percent GDP growth this year as reflected by the low inflation rate which is below 4 percent and fiscal deficit which is around 5 percent,” he said while talking to a delegation of Turkish investors and businessmen who as part of the Turkish-Pakistan Business Council met him at the FBR House Thursday.
The Minister told the visiting delegation that Pakistan had gone through some rough times in the past, facing the spread of terrorism mostly due to international problems, but the Pakistanis had proved to be a very resilient nation.
“Five years ago the situation was not what it is today. The situation is very good now. We have proved to the world that we are a frontline nation in the fight against terror. We have made a lot of sacrifices. We had a slight political turmoil because of which stock market went down but it has come back again.”
Haroon Akhtar Khan said that he had met a number of businessmen, trade associations and chambers of commerce, including Pakistan Business Council and Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce, and they always told him that people were eager to invest in Pakistan.
“They come to tell me that profit margins are going up, their business volumes are going up. The fast-moving consumer goods are doing very well. That is the strength of our economy. Our international ratings have been improving consistently. Today is the right environment to come to Pakistan.”
He further told Turkish businessmen that Pakistan had a population of over 200 million people blessed with one of the largest proportion of younger people which as per statistics stood around 65 million below the age bracket of 30. “This youth bulge is our strength and that is what we can use in the future.”
He conceded that Pakistan had to go through the industrialization route before aspiring to become a fully developed country. “We believe that we need a lot of jobs for the skilled as well as the unskilled labour. Our people go and work all over the world, even in the 50-degree temperature under the hot sun in most of the Gulf countries. They work 18 hours a day, live a very simple life and send valuable money back home which also helps our economy. We are a resilient people, we are tough people, we work hard. Our labour as compared to many countries around us is also considerably cheap.”
He apprised the delegation that the corporate tax rates in Pakistan had come down from 35% to 30% and the government was further reviewing them in the coming budget. However, there were many other advantages to reap for the foreign investors in Pakistan.