Shaikh assures Pak-US investors of level playing field

WASHINGTON: Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, who is heading the Pakistani delegation at International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB) meetings, met with Pakistani-American business leaders and economic experts, assuring a level-playing field for investors.

He said several sectors of the economy offer tremendous investment opportunities and pledged the government would facilitate their participation in Pakistan’s economic development.

Speaking about Islamabad’s economic policies, Dr Shaikh said, institutions are being encouraged to work independently and nobody is interfering in the working of such important institutions like the State Bank and Federal Board of Revenue.

The finance minister sought Pakistani-American entrepreneurs’ suggestions towards improvement of economy and said he would welcome their concrete proposals in various sectors.

The finance minister also presented a brief perspective of the economic situation the current government inherited and the steps it has been taking to rectify it and put the national economy on growth path.

Despite external shocks in the form of natural disasters and oil prices, the economy has begun to show some signs of stability, particularly higher volume of exports and record inflows of remittances on the external front are helping the economic outlook.

At the same time, Shaikh referred to challenges including power generation to meet exponentially growing energy requirements and ways to curb inflation and contain budgetary deficit through reforms and austerity drive.

The participants wanted to know the ways the government would facilitate American investment in various areas as well as measures to ensure unhindered supply of power.

Those who attended the meeting included Ambassador Rafat Mahmood, Mossadaq Chughtai, Shahid Ahmed Khan, Inayat Kathio, Ali Nawaz Memon, Dr Mubashir Chaudhry, Imran Malik, Mushtaq Khan, Shahid Burki, Baqir Raza, Irfan Malik.

The Finance Minister was accompanied at the meeting by his team of top economic managers to the IMF-World meetings that included Finance Secretary Dr Waqar Masood Khan, Acting Governor State Bank Anwar Yasin, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Nadeem ul Haq, Chairman Federal Board of Revenue Salman Siddique, Secretary Economic Affairs Abdul Wajid Rana and Minister Economic at the embassy Zahid Hafeez.

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