Pakistanis have every reason to celebrate


Abdul Basit

Dubai – Today, Pakistanis across the world are celebrating 71st Independence Day including the UAE and other Gulf countries.
Speaking to The UAE News business community in the UAE expressed that Pakistan’s economy looks in better shape despite numerous headwinds.

Shabbir Merchant, Managing Director, Champion Group, commented: “Today, we are celebrating Pakistan’s 71st Independence Day and being a patriotic Pakistani I always want to see our motherland as an economically prosperous nation. Although UAE is our home and having spent 40 prosperous years in this beautiful country, I share a great bond with Pakistan and have social and business ties there. Undoubtedly, Pakistan has great economic prospects despite the current political situation. This year’s budget showed a 5.3 per cent growth in GDP, which is the highest and the first time in over a decade. IMF also praised the government for strengthening macroeconomic resilience in its report last month.”

He mentioned: “I believe the multi-billion-dollar China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project has the potential to transform Pakistan and make it an Asian tiger.”
Talking about the challenges to the country, Merchant said: “Nowadays, Pakistan confronts multiple challenges which vary in intensity. Some of them appear to be multi-dimensional and complex in nature. Rising inflation, increasing unemployment, shrinking GDP and diminishing exports level are the major obstacles. Load-shedding is another big issue in the country, which is expected to overcome by the end of this year, according to the government claims.”

He added: “This year’s Independence Day is very important for all Pakistanis as the country is in the middle of political turmoil after the departure of Mian Muhammed Nawaz Sharif as a prime minister. I pray for the relentless success of Pakistan and hope for the best.”
The World Bank, in its report “Doing Business 2017”, also recognised Pakistan among the top 10 economies that have made the biggest improvements in their business regulations, according to Board of Investment of Pakistan.

Mahmood Shaikhani, Managing Director of Shaikhani Group, said: “The people of Pakistan have every reason to be happy at Independence Day as country embraces $300-billion economy mark in 2017 where Pakistan has achieved 5.3 per cent economic growth across all sectors, especially the agriculture and services. The growth puts the country in the league of economies that have a size of over $300 billion.”

A Bloomberg 2017 report says Pakistan’s economy is a pleasant surprise and most of Pakistan’s developments are fairly positive.
Dr. Faisel Ikram, General Secretary, Pakistan Association Dubai, said that the country undoubtedly went through turbulent times in the recent past which affected its economy but the latest figures from international surveys show positive growth and huge potential to become an emerging economy in the region.”
Foreign investment opportunities have also expanded especially with the start of CPEC project, creating job opportunities and growth in related service industry.
Asian Development Bank 2017 Outlook shows growth accelerated in 2016, benefitting from major economic reforms and improved security and low inflation.
Noorul Asif, Chief Operating Officer of Schon Properties, commented that economy is on a much stronger footing as public finances have improved considerably, external reserve buffers have been rebuilt, and growth has been gradually strengthening.”
Over the past few years, according to Mahmood Shaikhani, economic dynamism in the world economy has gradually been shifting from advanced economies to emerging markets. Today, these countries are home to 85 per cent of the world’s population, and account for almost 60 per cent of global GDP – up from just under half only a decade ago. While the global recovery has been subdued, emerging economies have contributed more than 80 per cent of global growth since the crisis, he said, adding that the good news is that “Pakistan has already begun to strengthen its growth drivers. Just three years ago, the country was on the brink of an economic crisis, but today it’s in a much stronger position.”
Amjad Hussain Chaudhry, Chairman, Al Meher Group, said that the country’s political parties need to come up with mutual understanding on internal issues before the country can invite foreign investors to come and invest in the country’s different sectors – especially Gwadar Port.”
This year’s budget showed a 5.3 per cent growth in GDP, which is the highest and the first time in over a decade. IMF also praised the government for strengthening macroeconomic resilience in its report last month. –