Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Commerce Engineer Khurram Dastgir Khan said that the Pakistani diaspora in Europe is instrumental in enhancing Pakistan’s trade with the European countries by projecting changing reality of Pakistan that offers immense opportunities for investment and trade. He said this while addressing representatives of Pakistani diaspora in Belgium, here today, says a press release received here today from Brussels.

The Commerce Minister said that in today’s world where trade and economic ties have become a key component of diplomacy, perceptions about the trading partners have huge impact on trade relations and in this respect diaspora could be of great help.

The Minister said that the emerging positive reality of Pakistan offered opportunities for peace and development, not only within the country, but also in its immediate and extended neighbours. Sharing the good news from Pakistan he said that “an era of stability and socio economic development has begun. He said “Pakistan has come a long way since election in 2013. Today democracy is taking roots in Pakistan. Economy is growing and security has improved, providing the space necessary to undertake the essential reforms”.

The Commerce Minister said that government’s commitment to tackle terrorism, effectively coupled with handling challenges in power sector, and initiating essential institutional reforms, have greatly boosted Pakistan’s economy.  The Minister said that due to continuous efforts of the government, economy has been put on right track and it was growing at a vigorous pace.

He said that efforts were being made by the present government to enhance Pakistan’s exports and recently on the occasion of Prime Minister’s Trade Enhancement initiative in Islamabad Mian Nawaz Sharif announced a package of incentives of Rs.180 billion to boost exports. The Minister also added that overcoming gas and power shortage remained top priority and this would help in strengthening our export base.

He further informed that investors’ confidence has gone up. Bloomberg has ranked Pakistan Stock Exchange as the fifth best performing exchange in the world and best in Asia. Travel Advisories on Pakistan were being revised the world over and as a result foreign investors have started to return to Pakistan.  The country’s economic ratings are improving due to growth facilitated by improved economic situation, the minister added.

The Minister said that “Pakistan has one of the most attractive investment regimes in the world, allowing foreign investors 100% repatriation of profits and easy convertibility into foreign exchange. Pakistan’s policy trends have been consistent with liberalization, privatization and facilitation being its corner stones”.

            He pointed out that vast investment opportunities were available in Pakistan in various sectors including, energy, consumer goods, food and agriculture, housing, health care, education, financial services, capital markets, information technology, oil and gas and infrastructure.

Pakistan’s GDP growth touched 4.7% in 2016, surpassing the target of 4.5 %. as indicated by Asian Development Outlook 2016 report. Government’s macroeconomic and structural reforms and improved security were being counted among major factors for outpacing earlier growth forecast. Inflation and the current account deficit were lower than expected, while foreign exchange reserves strengthened and the budget deficit shrank he added.

The Minister further pointed out that as per Inclusive Development Index of World Economic Forum Report 2017, released in Davos on 16th January this year, Pakistan has been ranked 52nd, ahead of India (60th), among 79 developing economies. Pakistan’s ranking in terms of Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) 2016-17 has also witnessed improvement by four notches as it stood at the 122nd position in 2016-17 against the 126th position previous year 2015-16 out of the total 138 countries.

Mr Khurram Dastgir pointed out that Pakistan suffered from misperceptions, and overseas Pakistanis could play a pivotal role in improving the image of their country as each one of them was an ambassador of Pakistan who could help the country by representing it in a best possible way.