Musharraf assures that Pakistan is already
a thriving economy with competitive labor
costs and a 150 million-consumer market
that is now booming.
Pakistan is a growing economy and all set to
play its rightful role in the international
community. The countrys main accomplishment
in the last five years has been the strengthening
of its macroeconomic base, which has enabled
it to put in place the right processes for full
integration and participation in international
economic activity. Pakistans economy is
growing at around 7% and heading towards a growth
of 8% in the coming years. Its economic policies
are consistent and transparent; the confidence
of the private sector is restored, which is
reflected in the sharp pick-up in bank credit
to the private sector and high double-digit
growth in industrial production.
Expatriate Pakistanis are bringing their capital
back in, the current account balance has been
in surplus for three years in a row, foreign
exchange reserves are approaching $12.5 billion,
the rupee is stable, the interest rate environment
has never been so investment friendly, the budget
deficit has been lowered, and the countrys
debt burden has declined sharply. Exports, imports,
and tax collection are growing at double-digit
levels; and Pakistan has $1.6 billion high-cost
external debt pre-paid.
Exports, which were estimated to be $7.8 billion
in 1999, will reach $14 billion this year. Pakistans
credit rating has been upgraded by both Moodys
and S&P. It has exited from the IMF program
and is now relying on domestic as well as international
capital markets to meet its financing needs
for development projects. All these indic-ators
are positive and prove that Pakistans
economy is progressing in leaps and bounds.
Pakistan offers 100% equity to foreign investment
with the facility of repatriation of capital
and profit on investment.
The country has replaced the antiquated financial
system with a stronger and more robust one.
Liquidity in banks has now increased. The new
financial system represents a shift to market-based
monetary and credit management. It comprises
privatization of public sector commercial banks
and a freedom for private and foreign banks
to operate in Pakistan. Strong corporate governance,
consumer and mortgage financing, ATMs and e-banking
have all been introduced. The foreign exchange
regime has been liberalized and legal difficulties
in loan recovery have been removed. The government
has strengthened the central banks capacity
for supervision and prudential regulations.
It believes in promoting transparency and
accountability, observing international standards,
and strengthening the financial system through
better supervision. The strengthening of the
legal framework is also on the cards. The governments
role will be confined to creating an appropriate
regulatory framework and incentive regime. Its
ultimate objective is to have fewer but strong,
adequately capitalized, and well-managed private
banks that can compete in modern day banking.
Given the right environment the country has
the ability to achieve any goal. Through its
economic policies, it has managed to reach a
stage where it can achieve fairly high rates
of economic growth and look forward to doubling
our national output every decade.
Pakistan is already a thriving market with
competitive labor costs, both skilled and unskilled,
a favorable climate for IT, textiles, oil and
gas, and corporate farming. It has an abundance
of raw materials and the right infrastructure
for investment projects. The existence of over
600 multinationals proves that the nation has
stable economic policies in place and that the
federation is unified, despite the diversity
of cultures and norms. Pakistan has a 150 million-consumer
market that is not only booming but is also
supporting other consumer markets in the region.
With these advantages to its credit, we feel
that Pakistans vision of becoming a vibrant
and modern Islamic state where people have a
myriad of opportunities can be easily accomplished.