PAKISTAN ECONOMIC ENVIRONMENT and HOW ONTARIO/CANADA CAN BENEFIT
“The developing world continues to show overall strong growth, despite weakness in some quarters. A massive population of 2.2 billion people comprising the Asian Middle class is and will continue to drive Global GDP growth”, said Nadeem Naqvi, President of the Pakistan Stock Exchange.
Speaking on the occasion of a luncheon hosted by the Canada Pakistan Business Council, in partnership with the Consulate General of Pakistan and Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade, Ontario, at the Ontario Investment & Trade Centre, Nadeem delivered a clear, insightful and compelling argument about the business and economic opportunities in Pakistan today, and the rapid strides the country has made in recent years.
Hon. Dr Reza Moridi, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, graced the event as a special guest and keynote speaker. Other guests included Dr. Shafiq Qadri, MD., MPP. Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier of Ontario, Mr. Asghar Ali Golo Consul General of Pakistan, Mr. Erdeniz Sen, Consul General of Turkey and Mr. Akhil Tyagi, representing the Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade and a large number of leaders and professionals from the business, public sector and social communities.
Covering a wide range of issues, from the global economic slowdown in growth in developed economies, to the rapid growth in the developing world, he presented a powerful case for Pakistan as a model of growth and destination with tremendous business and economic opportunities.
Pakistan on the move and open for business says Nadeem Naqvi – Managing Director, Pakistan Stock Exchange.
Pakistan, he said, was fourth in the world in sugar cane, rice and mango production, fifth in milk production and copper reserves and had the sixth largest coal reserves in the world. For many in the audience, including many Pakistanis, this data was an eye opener about Pakistan’s huge potential.
Elaborating further, he shared how Pakistan’s rapidly growing middle class of 40 million people has resulted in consumer growth of 10% per annum, has resulted in consumer spending growth of 20% per annum, double the average growth in Asia. The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) investment of $47 billion has all the hallmarks of a game changer in Pakistan, with 60% being allocated to power projects, the lifeblood of industrial and economic growth, and 40% to roads and communications infrastructure projects. The Pakistani rupee has maintained a stable position against the US Dollar, and the country’s fiscal deficit down from a high of nearly 9% in 2102 to 4.7% by end 2015.
Total public debt as a percentage of GDP has decreased from 64% in 2012 to 62% in 2015. Pakistan’s public debt, though large and a cause of some concern, is still manageable. Its total public debt, as a percentage of GDP, is 64% of which total external public debt is a 22% of GDP. 80% of Pakistan’s external debt is multilateral and bilateral in nature, with long term tenors and low interest rates. Perhaps one area which can be questioned is the high rate at which Pakistan has raised funds on the International Bond and Sukuk (Islamic Bonds) markets. Finally, Pakistan’s annual GDP growth is continuously rising from a low of 3.7% in 2012 and projected to hit 4.5% in 2016.
With a population of 190 million, a 40 million and growing middle class, a documented economy of $270 billion and a per capita income of $1,500, Pakistan is a country to keep on your radar. However, with a wry smile, he added that the real size of the Pakistani economy is $400 billion and per capita income of nearly $2,300, because 50% of Pakistan’s economy is undocumented. And 400 Billion is a huge economy!
He said that these tangible and visible signs showed a country on the rise and open for business. This he said was despite the terribly wasteful and tragic three decade war against militancy and terrorism, now finally beginning to wane as consequence of a determined and concerted military operation.
The talk was followed by an active Q&A session which added even more insights to his already brilliant observations on Pakistan.
Earlier, Mr. Akhil Tyagi, Area Director South Asia at the International Branch, MEDTEI opened the session and welcomed the guests and gave a brief insight about what Ontario has to offer.
Samir Dossal, President CPBC in his remarks welcomed Nadeem Naqvi to the event and shared details of his recent visit to Pakistan to attend the Pakistan Investment Forum 2015, chaired by Pakistani Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, who was very laudatory of the role that the Pakistani community was playing and, in a televised recording, urged the Canadian Pakistani to collectively create a fund to invest in projects in Pakistan.
PAKISTAN INVESTMENT CONFERENCE 2015
Samir updated the gathering on its recent activities and plans to promote bilateral relations between Pakistan and Canada with Research and Education as one of the priority sector.
Samir Dossal thanked Consul General Asghar Ali Golo for his untiring efforts in promoting ties between Canada and Pakistan. He also extended his gratitude to Honourable Minister Dr. Reza Moridi in working towards developing academic ties with Pakistan and hoped Dr. Moridi would visit Pakistan in 2016. He also shared the details of an MOU signed between the CPBC and the Canada Turkish Business Council to enhance cooperation between the two councils and joint efforts towards trade enhancement and ties.
He further announced that CPBC in partnering with the Government of Punjab signed an MOU with the Punjab Board of Investment and Trade (PBIT) during a visit to Punjab.
Samir thanked RBC and Imtiaz Seyid, VP South Asia Middle East Market for their continued support, sponsorship of CPBC and its activities.
He said that the 500,000 Canadians of Pakistani origin were a huge force and a resource that have made a great contribution to Ontario, Canada and Pakistan.
In his address, Dr. Reza Moridi, the Honourable Minister shared his warm feelings about Pakistan and said Ontario and Canada were very fortunate to have an active Pakistani community which had made great contributions to all fields and the country has been made better today because of these contributions, in addition to other communities in Canada. He hoped that Ontario and Canada would be able to fully leverage the great advantage of its multi-cultural milieu and become a much bigger exporter to markets and countries other than the USA. He also hoped to implement an MOU for academic collaboration and research with Pakistani universities, many of them being amongst the best in the world.
Dr. Shafiq Qaadri, MPP, was very effusive in recalling his visit to Pakistan and the hospitality extended to him and the CPBC delegation by Nadeem Naqvi when they visited the then Karachi Stock Exchange on their official visit to Pakistan. The Karachi Stock Exchange reminded him of Manhattan!
The Honourable Consul General of Turkey, Mr. Erdeniz Sen, in his brief remarks welcomed Nadeem Naqvi and thanked Samir Dossal and Pakistani Consul General Asghar Ali Golo for their efforts in promoting ties between the Pakistani and Turkish business communities in Ontario and in Canada.
Pakistani Counsel General Asghar Ali Golo in his remarks highlighted the recently concluded Strategic Dialogue between Pakistan and the USA and the formation of a “Knowledge Corridor” whereby 125 Fulbright scholarships will be awarded and 10,000 Pakistani students will go on exchange visits to the USA as part of this initiative. He also urged Dr. Reza Moridi to visit Pakistan in 2016 to further the academic collaboration between Ontario and Pakistan.
Jayne Pilot, Vice President of CPBC ended the event with a warm vote of thanks and voiced everyone’s feelings by saying that this was one of the best presentations and talks she had attended on Pakistan and clearly showed that Pakistan was on the move and open for business!
CPBC acknowledges TEAM CPBC for their support in putting up such events. Special acknowledgement goes out to Mr. Haider Mehdi for meticulously putting this report together and Ms. Naveed Hyder for her her timely coordination and professionalism.