London, April 15, 2015 (PPI-OT): Representatives from the top financial companies in London met with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar at Pakistan High Commission London today. The meeting was also attended by H.E. Syed Ibne Abbas, Pakistan High Commissioner to the UK. Leading investment funds including Jefferies, Aberdeen Asset Management, Ashmore Group, Renaissance Capital, and Spinnaker were represented during this meeting.
Giving an overview of the Pakistan economy, the Minister highlighted the successful issuance of Euro and Sukuk bonds and recent divestment of Government shares in Habib Bank. He thanked the investors for their interest in Pakistan and said that Pakistan would continue its presence in the international market in the next fiscal year.
Pakistan have successfully completed six reviews under an IMF programme for the first time ever, while the 7th review was also ready for 1st week of May 2015, the Minister added. He further said that the response Pakistan received in the London financial market had surpassed all expectations and hence London remains very relevant for the Pakistan capital markets.
Minister Dar underscored some of the major economic achievements of the present government that are as follows: GDP growth rate has exceeded 4% after a period of 6 years while inflation has come down to 2.5% in March 2015 after a period of 12 years while the core inflation is around 5%; government has made concerted efforts to minimize the fiscal deficit to 4 %; debt to GDP ratio, government has substantially decreased its dependence on borrowing from domestic banks making the capital available for private sector; Stock Market and Forex market are also doing well; Pakistani currency has been recently reported as one of the best performing currencies in the world by Bloomberg; and Moody’s has just upgraded Pakistan’s economic outlook from stable to positive.
The Minister hoped that the CAA rating would be improved keeping in view the recent positive economic outlook of Pakistan. He was also confident that Pakistan would be able to join the league of emerging markets.
The Finance Minister stated that the government was looking to increase the forex reserves to record high of 18.2 billion USD. Talking about energy issue, he said by the end of 2017, Pakistan would have additional 10,000 MW of electricity in the national grid. He assured the investors that the country would soon get rid of the menace of terrorism and extremism as a result of National Action Plan (NAP).
The Minister said under the social safety net programs, around 5 million of the poorest families had benefited. He said, from economic point of view, the government was looking to promote sustainable and inclusive growth by increasing GDP to around 7%, decrease fiscal deficit to 4%, increase investment to GDP ratio to 22 %, and increase exports to 32 billion USD.
Responding to questions raised by the investors, Minister said that the Chinese Trade Corridor would not only benefit Pakistan but the entire region. The minister stopped in London on his way to spring meetings with IMF and World Bank in Washington.
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