Government is focused on making Pakistan economically prosperous: Ahsan Iqbal

Islamabad, December 05, 2013 (PPI-OT): Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Prof. Ahsan Iqbal while delivering a keynote address at the JETRO Seminar said, “The economic priorities of the Sharif government are to make the country prosperous and an upper middle income country by 2025.

Government wants to establish trade and economic corridors through rail and road connectivity to integrate the region of 3 billion people comprising of China, South Asia and Central Asia into one large market. Pakistan stood at the centre of this region, he added. Pakistan had the potential to become the hub of this market.

Pakistan also was country of 190 million people where 60% were under 30, and now has a government which has economic agenda and believes in good governance with focus on promoting private sector investment for generating growth. Pakistan is an attractive destination which no one can ignore.”, says a press release received from Tokyo here today.

He said Pakistan and Japan enjoyed very close political and historical relations. He emphasized the need to translate these relations into trade and economic fields as well, because the volume of present trade between the two countries does not commensurate the strong political relations.

Highlighting priorities of the Government he said Energy was the top priority of the government because without energy the goals set up by the Government could not be achieved. In this context the Government has long term and medium term goals.

In the long term, hydel power generation had been prioritized where Pakistan sought Japanese cooperation in building Dasu and Bhasha Dam which would generate 9000 MW of electricity in the next 12 years. In the medium term he said coal based power generation plants were being encouraged.

The Government has set up a power park at Gadani near Karachi where six coal based power plants using super critical technology from Japan are to be established. These plants would generate 6600 MW of electricity. He invited Japanese companies to invest in the energy sector which offered very attractive terms and incentives for the investors.

Referring to Karachi Circular Road Project he said that the Prime Ministers of the two countries during their meeting in New York agreed to move ahead with KCR project. He urged the Japanese Government to provide funds for this project. This would create a new avenue of cooperation between the two countries.

He said that development is critical for consolidating the democratic gains in Pakistan where for the first time a smooth transition from one democratically elected government to another democratically government had taken place. A stable democratic Pakistan further stabilized the region, he asserted.

Earlier the Minister had a breakfast meeting with Mr. Hideto Nakahara, Executive Vice President, Mitsubishi Corporation. He shared the Sharif government power sector reforms offering one of the highest rate of return on investment. He said that companies like Mitsubishi Corporation which had been in Pakistan for decades needed to take first mover advantage. He also requested to help in reducing the perception gap about Pakistan by sharing their experience with other Japanese entrepreneurs.

The Minister visited the National Museum of Emerging Sciences and Innovation (Miraikan). Speaking with Mr. Mamoru Mouri, Chief Executive of the National Museum, he said that science and technology was the only hope to humanity which could solve the emerging various problems such as climate change. He said that during the last few decades the green revolution had provided food security to the bulging population.

He said that today’s world was a globalized one and any incident taking place in any part of the world affected the entire globe. Science could help resolve such challenges. He appreciated the Japanese advancement in science, technology and innovation.

He said that present Government attached top priority to the science education in the country and wanted to increase enrolment of students in the science majors. Later the Minister had a round of the Museum where he took keen interest in the cutting edge technology in the field of robot, geology and medical sciences.

During his meeting with Mr. Akihiko Tanaka, President, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Minister highlighted that the new leadership in Pakistan had a strong business and economic background with the democratic dividend of smooth transfer of power. It was important to establish the link between democracy and development.

The new Government had reintroduced the Five (05) Year Plan with a priority for coherence to manage Pakistan’s challenges. A decision was taken to reintroduce the Planning and Development Ministry but this time with Reforms added to the portfolio. He said Pakistan’s program with IMF was proceeding smoothly.

The Government’s manifesto was committed to reform the state enterprises, improve transmission of energy amongst other issues. The Minister strongly emphasized that the need for smooth small and big businesses. He underlined that the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) was a flagship project as agreed between the Prime Ministers of Pakistan and Japan in New York in September.

The Minister met with H. E. Mr. Jiro Aichi, Vice Minister for Finance. He outlined the strong economic agenda of the new Government, spoke about major reforms and priorities of the Government such as the KCR, energy projects, Dasu and Bhasha dams. He elaborated upon the Government’s plans to upgrade the energy supply by 15,000 MW in next 12 years. The Vice Minister in welcoming the Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms, said that Japan took Pakistan’s development priorities seriously and also referred to the important meeting between the two Prime Ministers in New York.

Vice Minister Aichi also expressed his immense appreciation for the Pakistani citizens in Japan who provided valuable help and assistance immediately after Earthquake and Tsunami in 2011. Vice Minister also expressed interest in visiting Buddhist heritage sites in Pakistan.

Later in the day the Minister had a meeting with Pakistani businessmen to share details of Vision 2025. He stressed the importance of the expatriate community’s contribution towards development. He requested them to share viable proposals to enhance trade and investment with Japan.

In the evening the Minister addressed Pakistan-Japan Association and outlined the Government strategy for reforms and infrastructure development. The meeting was attended by many leading corporations already working on projects in Pakistan.

Also in the evening the Minister met with Pakistani graduate students studying in various universities of Japan where he stressed the importance of education, technology transfer and human resources development. He urged the students to take pride in the work, their nation and do their utmost to contribute to the development and prosperity of Pakistan.

For more information, contact:
Haji Ahmed Malik
Principal Information Officer
Press Information Department (PID)
Tel: +9251 925 2323 and +9251 925 2324
Fax: +9251 925 2325 and +9251 925 2326

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