“Our economic rebound is particularly remarkable because we achieved it while being engaged in major counter-terrorism operations that we have launched against terrorists across Pakistan,” he said in a speech at a luncheon co-hosted by the US-Pakistan Business Council (USPBC) and the US Chamber of Commerce.
“Thankfully, we have been able to restore the writ of the state and reclaim every inch of our territory,” the prime minister added.
“Being a firm believer in the private sector’s pivotal role in Pakistan’s economic development, my government has framed policies aimed at providing an enabling environment for private, local and foreign businesses to thrive,” he said.
“Already the Investment Policy 2013 provides one of the most liberal investment regimes in the region, with 100% foreign ownership putting an emphasis on reducing costs and processes involved in “doing business” and creating linkages for trade and industry.”
PM Sharif said, “We have numerous attractive investment options in the power, oil and gas, information technology, infrastructure, consumer goods, financial services and capital markets sectors in Pakistan.”
The US, he said, has remained Pakistan’s major economic partner, but the business level between the two countries has not kept pace with global trends.
He said, President Barack Obama in 2013, had agreed to jointly work on developing a ‘Joint Action Plan’ to expand bilateral business flows over the next five years with Pakistan.
“Your role as business leaders, investors and entrepreneurs is critical in enabling our two governments to fully harness the potential”, the prime minister said.
Pakistan, he said, will shortly graduate from the IMF Programme.
“The successful completion of the IMF programme, the second time in our history, is a strong indicator of the health of Pakistan’s economy and the authenticity of reforms undertaken.”
Forbes also acknowledged that Pakistan has the potential to be a global turnaround story and ought to be a US strategic partner, the prime minister said.
Jim O’Neill of Goldman Sachs had included Pakistan in N-11 or Next 11 Group of economies expected to register rapid growth in the next decade, he continued.
Bloomberg ranked Pakistan: (a) 3rd amongst top ten Best Performing Markets in 2014 and (b) 14th amongst top potential investment locations in 2016.
“Well reputed international credit rating agencies, international financial institutions, and international economists have all appreciated the important strides we have made over the past three and a half years in turning around Pakistan’s economy. Both S&P and Moody’s have upgraded Pakistan’s credit rating from stable to positive.
Fitch has also assigned a stable rating to Pakistan.
He said because of a comprehensive government strategy, energy supply, at least for the industry, was much better than before and would improve more, after key power projects in the pipeline were operationalised.
Pakistan’s entry into the global bond market, subscription it generated and the outstanding performance of Pakistan Stock Exchange point to rising investor confidence in Pakistan.
He hoped that the US Chamber of Commerce and USPBC would support Pakistan and the US to improve business on every platform.
“This will go a long way in strengthening the relationship between the two countries, their people and businesses.”