Pakistanis in UAE sanguine about country's economic prospects
The economy is now in a much better shape and on a stronger footing as compared to a few years back
By Waheed Abbas
Published: Sun 13 Aug 2017, 4:25 PM
Last updated: Mon 14 Aug 2017, 6:38 PM
Pakistan today celebrates its 70th independence day and the business community in the UAE hailed the country's economic progress achieved during the last few years.
Despite some political instability in the country, the economy is now in a much better shape and on a stronger footing as compared to a few years back, according to the UAE-based Pakistani business community members.
"The people of Pakistan have every reason to be happy at 70th 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," says Mahmood Shaikhani, Managing Director of Shaikhani Group.
"The $62 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is also boosting overall economic and industrial prosperity of a large number of population in Pakistan. It is a collection of infrastructure projects that are currently under construction throughout Pakistan," he added.
According to the World Data Atlas, Pakistan's (GDP) based on purchasing power parity (PPP) this year crossed $1 trillion, becoming the 25th largest economy in the world. PPP in 2017 is $1,060 billion, with an year-on-year growth of 7.32 per cent. This is the highest-ever increase in a decade.
A Bloomberg 2017 report says Pakistan economy is a pleasant surprise and most of Pakistan's developments are fairly positive.
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.
Asian Development Bank 2017 Outlook shows growth accelerated in 2016, benefitting from major economic reforms and improved security and low prices. Continued economic reform is essential to reach a high growth trajectory.
Dr. Faisel Ikram, General Secretary, Pakistan Association Dubai, maintains 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.
Ikram says the country will now attract more foreign direct investment as law and order situation in the country has improved markedly and the army has successfully deal with external and internal threats.
"Sound political environment with long term policies will definitely provide a catalyst to our economic growth. As a nation we need to strengthen our institutions and I'm very confident that our people are capable to meet all challenges, inshaAllah," he added.
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, states 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.
"These are very encouraging developments. The international financial institutions have released positive reports about Pakistan's progress. The World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the $62 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the GDP growth all have elevated Pakistan's status as an active player among emerging economies," he added.
"Pakistanis here in UAE are contributing to the local economy with their expertise, skills, education and hard work in all areas of business. We will continue to do good job in UAE to support Pakistan and to bridge good bilateral relations and between Pakistan and UAE," he concluded.
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, is of the view 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.
In addition, another major challenge is improving the country's airline has been struggling for years.
"I truly wish to see Pakistan international airline come to the levels of Emirates or Etihad Airways," he concluded.
Shabbir Merchant, Managing Director, Champion Group, maintains that Pakistan undoubtedly 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. I believe the multi-billion-dollar China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project has the potential to transform Pakistan and make it an Asian tiger."
Nowadays, he said, Pakistan confronts multiple challenges which vary in intensity. Some of them appear to be multi-dimensional and complex in nature. Rising inflation, increasing unemployment, and diminishing exports level are the major obstacles.
He noted that 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.