Federal Minister for Finance, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar, held a meeting with a group of corporate and business leaders from around the world, currently on a visit to Pakistan, at the Ministry of Finance today.

The leader of the delegation, Mr.Zia Chishti of: The Resource Group informed the Finance Minister that the group is visiting Pakistan to explore business and investment opportunities in the country, and also to visit the beautiful areas in the North of Pakistan. He highlighted that the meetings which the group has held so far in Pakistan, especially with the honourable Prime Minister earlier today, have greatly helped in further improving the perceptions of the group members about Pakistan. He thanked the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister, on behalf of the visiting group, for the government’s hospitality. He further conveyed that the visiting group acknowledges the success of the economic reforms agenda of the present government over the past three and a half years and the increased opportunities for business and investment that have resulted due to the successful economic turnaround.

The Finance Minister extended a warm welcome to the visiting group. He said that Pakistan is now being acknowledged globally by the international media and financial community/institutions as an attractive destination for business and investment, and therefore the group’s visit to Pakistan is very timely. The Finance Minister highlighted the report recently published by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) which has projected Pakistan to become the 20thlargest economy by 2030 and the 16thlargest economy by 2050.He also highlighted the report published earlier this week by Barron’s which has described Pakistan as the “next big thing” and “the flag bearer of the positive changes taking place in the South Asian nations”.

The Finance Minister said that as a result of the investor friendly policies of the present government, and the economic turnaround achieved in the last three years, various reputable international investors and companies, including Renault, Arçelik and FrieslandCampina, have been frequently visiting Pakistan and interacting regularly with both the private sector and public officials in Pakistan to explore business and investment opportunities. He urged the members of the visiting group to also benefit from the business and investment opportunities available in the country, and extended the government’s full cooperation in this regard.

He said that, after having achieved macroeconomic stability, the government is now focused on achieving higher, sustainable and inclusive growth. He highlighted that GDP growth was recorded at 4.7% in FY 2016, an eight year high, and that the target is to achieve GDP growth of over 5% in FY 2017. He said that, as a result of the improved macroeconomic situation, the government has been able to tap the international bond, sukuk and equity markets over the past three years. He said that the resilience of the economy has also been recognised by international credit rating agencies in the form of improved ratings and outlooks.

At the end of the meeting, the Finance Minister wished the group a productive and enjoyable stay in Pakistan.

The meeting was also attended by senior officials of the Ministry of Finance.