Pakistan banks on investor-friendly policies

Updated 24 March 2015
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Pakistan banks on investor-friendly policies

Pakistan is a rapidly growing country despite a lot of political and economic challenges. However, its growth rate since 1947 has been better than the global average.
A wide range of economic reforms has resulted in a strong economic outlook.
There has been a great improvement in foreign exchange and currency reserves.
New businesses are opening up across Pakistan which is reshaping its landscape.
The GDP growth accelerated to 4.14 percent in 2013-14 and the momentum of growth is broad based, as all sectors namely agriculture, industry and services are supporting economic growth.
The per capita income in dollar terms has reached to $1,386 in 2013-14.
The agriculture sector accounts for 21.0 percent of GDP and 43.7 percent of employment. It has strong backward and forward linkages. It has four sub-sectors including: crops, livestock, fisheries and forestry.
The industrial sector contributes 20.8 percent in GDP; it is also a major source of tax
revenues for the government and also contributes significantly in the provision of job opportunities to the labor force.
The government has planned and implemented comprehensive policy measures on fast track to revive the economy.
As a result, Pakistan’s industrial sector recorded remarkable growth at 5.8 percent as compared to 1.4 percent in the previous year.
The services sector contains six sub-sectors including: transport, storage and communication; wholesale and retail trade; finance and insurance; housing services (ownership of dwellings); general government Services (public administration and defense); and other private services (social services).
The services sector has witnessed a growth rate of 4.3 percent.
The growth performance in the services sector is broad based, all components contributed positively in growth, Finance and insurance at 5.2 percent, general government services at 2.2 percent, housing services at 4.0 percent, other private services at 5.8 percent, transport, storage and communication at 3.0 percent and wholesale and retail Trade at 5.2 percent.
The three main drivers of economic growth are consumption, investment and export.
Pakistan has a consumption-oriented society, like other developing countries.
The private consumption expenditure in nominal terms reached to 80.49 percent of the GDP, whereas public consumption expenditures are 12.00 percent of GDP.
The government has launched a number of initiatives to create enabling environment in the country including steps to improve the energy situation, law and order, auction of 3G and 4G licenses, and other investment incentives for the investors.
Moody’s recent ratings in favor of Pakistan coupled with jacking up from negative to positive rating of five of its banks — Habib Bank Limited (HBL), Muslim Commercial Bank (MCB), Allied Bank Limited (ABL), United Bank Limited (UBL) and National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) — would definitely boost investor confidence.
The current government has launched a comprehensive plan to create an investment-friendly environment and to attract foreign investors to the country. As is evident, the capital market has reached new heights and emitting positive signals for restoring investor confidence.
The European Union (EU) granted Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) Plus status to Pakistan with an impressive count of 406 votes, granting Pakistani products a duty free access to the European market.
The GSP Plus status will allow almost 20 percent of Pakistani exports to enter the EU market at zero tariff and 70 percent at preferential rates. Award of GSP Plus status depicts the confidence of international markets in the excellent quality of Pakistani products.
Pakistan emerged as one of the best performers in the wake of the global financial crisis, even with a backdrop of a country which waged a costly war against militants.
Its domestically-driven economy was minimally affected and its banking sector boasted surplus liquidity while remaining unharmed, where as on the contrary big economies nearly collapsed during world recession.
Pakistan’s economic outlook is primarily the outcome of effective steps taken by the government, including launching of economic reforms; ensuring stability in exchange rate; reduction in the dearness ratio; successful sale and purchase of sukuk bonds; increased foreign reserves; least government’s borrowings; stabilizing foreign debt servicing balance; and narrowing down fiscal deficit.
The economy of Pakistan is on take-off stage, its foreign exchange and currency reserves have increased.
Pakistan’s GDP has shown stability in recent years due to sustained economic policies of the government and political stability.
Keeping all the circumstances in view, we can say that the economy of Pakistan is on the right track and is on the take-off stage but the only thing required is the continuity of policies, which will make the flight smooth and sustainable.


Saudi aviation academy to train first women pilots

Updated 16 July 2018
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Saudi aviation academy to train first women pilots

DAMMAM: A flight school in Saudi Arabia is opening its doors for women, following the end of a decades-long driving ban in the deeply conservative Muslim country where many social restrictions are easing.
Oxford Aviation Academy, a leading trainer and crew recruiter, has already received applications from hundreds of women hoping to start lessons in September at a new branch in the eastern city of Dammam.
“People used to travel abroad (to study aviation), which was difficult for women more than men,” said applicant Dalal Yashar, who aspires to work as a civil pilot.
“We are no longer living in the era were women were allowed (to work) in limited arenas. All avenues are now opened for women. If you have the appetite, you have the ability,” she said.
The academy is part of a $300 million project that includes a school for aircraft maintenance and an international center for flight simulators at the airport.
Students receive three years of academic and practical training, said executive director Othman Al-Moutairy.
A decades-long ban on women driving was lifted last month, as part of sweeping reforms pushed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman aimed at transforming the economy and opening up its cloistered society.
The lifting of the prohibition was welcomed by Western allies as proof of a new progressive trend in Saudi Arabia, but it has been accompanied by a crackdown on dissent, including against some of the very activists who previously campaigned against the ban.