WASHINGTON      -    Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday invited the Pakistani-American businessmen to explore the new encouraging environment in Pakistan that offered ease of doing business and encouraged attractive profit-making.

Addressing at the Trade and Investment Conference, the prime minister said the government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf had introduced a new mindset of wealth creation and promoted foreign investment.

“This is the mindset of Naya Pakistan where facilitation of businessmen is a priority,” he said at the forum, attended by leading businessmen and investors belonging to Pakistani-origin community.

The prime minister said most of the North Americans-Pakistanis in particular were self-made and had special place in his heart for their hard work.

“Pakistan has expectations from you to support the government in its journey of development,” he told the Pakistan-American businessmen, who responded to the prime minister with a big applause.

The prime minister said a one-window operation was being set up at the PM Secretariat for foreign businessmen for smooth process of trade and investment.

For dual nationals, he said besides the facility of voting, the government was also considering allowing them contesting the general elections.

He mentioned that the government was focusing on wealth creation and was also laying emphasis on agriculture to tap investors.

He lauded his economic team including Abdul Razak Dawood and Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh who were steadfast in dealing with the difficult most economic challenges of the country.

The prime minister said Pakistan with its rich human resource of 220 million offered great potential for investment and mentioned that China, Russia, Qatar, Japan and the United Arab Emirates had shown great interest in business.

He said Pakistan had immense potential due to its strategic location and being situated at the crossroads of big international markets.

Also, he said Pakistan’s tourism potential offered gateway to sufi shrines, Buddhist monasteries, Hindu temples and Sikh Gurdwaras.

He said the country’s northern areas were the best-kept secrets of scenic beauty and added that this year, local tourism witnessed unprecedented upsurge.

He said 20 new resorts were being opened in Pakistan and invited the foreign businessmen to invest in tourism-related areas, including hotel industry.

He regretted that the previous two governments inflicted huge financial loss to the country, which severely discouraged foreign investment.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the Pakistanis residing in the United States had shown confidence in Prime Minister Imran Khan due to the fact that “he delivered whenever made promise.”

He said Pakistan had taken steps to facilitate foreign investment in shape of ease of doing business and liberalization of visas for a more enabling trade environment. He expressed confidence that expatriate Pakistani businessmen could make huge contribution for realizing the vision of a ‘Naya Pakistan’.

Meanwhile, David Lipton, acting Managing Director of International Monetary Fund (IMF), called on Prime Minister Imran Khan at the Embassy of Pakistan, Washington. He was accompanied by Jihad Azour, Director of the Middle East and Central Asia Department, and Jafar Mujarrad, Executive Director of the Fund and Alfred Kammer, Chief of Staff, Office of the Managing Director.

In the meeting, the Prime Minister thanked the IMF Board of Directors for approving the recent Extended Fund Facility (EFF) for Pakistan. The Prime Minister pointed out that reforms implemented under the IMF Program will be instrumental in stabilizing the economy and reviving growth. He expressed his government’s commitment to take all necessary measures needed to resolve the macroeconomic and structural challenges for sustainable and long-term growth. The Prime Minister underscored that his government was determined to minimize the initial adverse impact of the reform process on the vulnerable social groups through enhanced allocation for social sectors and social protection initiatives including the Ehsaas Programme. Lipton acknowledged various initiatives undertaken by the government to stabilize the economy.

He stressed the importance of continued implementation of the agreed fiscal, monetary, exchange rate and structural reforms to fully benefit from the IMF Programme.

The Managing Director assured the Prime Minister of the Fund’s continued support for reform implementation process in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, David Malpass, President of the World Bank, called on Prime Minister Imran Khan at the Embassy of Pakistan, Washington.

The Prime Minister congratulated Malpass on his assumption of the important responsibility of World Bank President. The Prime Minister appreciated the tremendous support extended by the Bank in different sectors of the Pakistan’s economy over the years. He reiterated his government’s people-centric development agenda focused on increased spending on health, education and youth of Pakistan.

While highlighting government’s reform priorities including improving the ease-of-doing business, the Prime Minister expressed satisfaction with assistance and stewardship being provided by the World Bank. He hoped that the Bank would roll forward the pipeline projects and assured the Bank’s President of his government’s support in this regard.

Appreciating Prime Minister’s development agenda, David Malpass observed that Pakistan was an important country in the region with a large portfolio of World Bank projects. He hoped that Pakistan’s entry into a new IMF program should go a long way in ensuring macroeconomic stability and rejuvenating confidence of foreign investors in Pakistan. He also appreciated the social protection programs of the government including skill development of the youth – preparing them for the job market.

Malpass assured the Prime Minister of World Bank’s steady and prompt support in implementing Prime Minister’s vision of economic development.

A group of investors from the fields of food and health also called on Prime Minister Imran Khan here at the Embassy of Pakistan in Washington DC.

The investors included Aslam Khan, Mobashir Chaudhuri (from Texas), Dr. Basit Javed, Dr. Abid Sheikh and Dr. Mobashir Chaudhary.

The investors expressed their interest in the food sector and improvement of health facilities in Pakistan. They shared ideas on upscaling of medical facilities in Pakistan, especially medical coverage in rural areas and specialized fields. Ideas were also exchanged on how Pakistani origin physicians in the US could help give back to the communities in Pakistan.