ABU DHABI (PR) -  The government is focusing on creating a business-friendly environment that will be a boost to economy and attract foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country, said Pakistani Ambassador to UAE Moazzam Ahmad Khan on Monday. 

Speaking at a conference on ‘Pakistan-Economy, Capital Market, Private Equity and CPEC (China Pakistan Economy Corridor)’, organised by J Awan and Partners, the ambassador said the reforms undertaken by the government have brought in macro-economic stability resulting in lower budget deficit, and increased foreign exchange reserves. 

“Over the past three years, the government has been able to bring down fiscal deficit from 8.6 percent to 4.2 percent; increase tax-to-GDP ratio from 9.8 percent to 12.4 percent and contain inflation to well below 3 percent,” he added. “Our foreign exchange reserves stand at a comfortable level of $23 billion (Dh84.48 billion). This year Pakistan is set to cross the 5 percent GDP growth threshold, and is projected to grow over 8 percent in the next decade,” he stated. 

He said equities and stock markets have been performing well with Pakistan benchmark PSE 100 index, crossing 49,000 in January 2017 and is set to break the barrier of 50,000 shortly. “At a market capitalisation of $89 billion, Pakistan Stock Exchange is among the best performing markets of Asia and indeed the world. Perhaps for this reason Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) has decided to upgrade the Karachi Stock Exchange to Emerging Market Index,” he expressed. 

While talking about CPEC, he said infrastructure expansion of over $55 billion is being implemented under the programme, including investments of more than $35 billion in the energy sector. “Road and Rail infrastructure, Industrial Parks and Economic Zones along the length and breadth of Pakistan will culminate in state of the art Deep Sea Port at Gwadar. In time, Gwadar is expected to service not only Pakistan and the Asian continent, but, by slashing distances and cutting costs, also the markets of the Middle East and North Africa region,” he added. 

Located at the intersection of four engines of growth in Asia, South Asia, China, the Middle East and Central Asia, he said Pakistan is uniquely positioned to become a hub to connect growing regional markets of over 3 billion people, and the CPEC is helping realise that dream. 

As part of the One Belt, One Road project, China is creating a vast network of highways and railways connecting the Pakistan port city of Gwadar with China’s northwestern region of Xinj iang. The ambassador also underlined the relationship with the UAE and said the people of Pakistan have a special affinity for the UAE, its people and its leadership. The bilateral trade between the two countries is about $7 billion in 2015, according to Pakistan embassy. On the occasion, the speakers also highlighted the security situation in the country and said the government is trying to implement an aggressive security improvement strategy.