Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday addressed the Future Investment Initiative (FII) conference in Saudi Arabia and highlighted some of the key challenges facing his government and his plans to tackle them.
Whatever reforms we do today the impact will be in three months, six months or a years time. Right now we need loans to go through this difficult period of repaying or servicing our debt for our imports," the premier said while speaking about Pakistan's current economic situation. "Right now we are talking to the International Monetary Fund and also to friendly countries," he added.
Warning that the next three to six months will be difficult for Pakistan, PM Imran said, "Our institutions were destroyed as corrupt people were in top positions but we are taking measures to increase exports."
"Pakistan's strength is overseas Pakistanis and we have to make conditions favorable for them to invest in the country," he said. The premier announced, "We are working to create a favorable environment for investment in the country and will introduce a one-window operation for it."
"We need to increase foreign reserves with remittances from the 8 to 9 million Pakistanis working abroad, need to give incentives to exporters and create opportunities for investment,” he added.
He also asserted, "We need to clamp down on money laundering and are taking measures."
The premier further said, "Pakistan is a country with great potential and is one of the most diverse countries in the world."
"This is the best time for investors to come to Pakistan," he added. PM Imran further said he has spoken to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman about boosting investment ties between the two countries.
"There was hardly any investment in our mineral resources and one of the reasons as I pointed out was the war on terror as investors would not return to Pakistan. We also had very poor governance and corruption," he added. "Pakistan suffered a lot from terrorism post-9/11 but now, thanks to our security forces and intelligence agencies, we have controlled terrorism."
PM Imran further highlighted. "Tourism is also a vital sector and has flourished in recent years. We want to give incentives to people in energy sector."
Upholding that Pakistan's two biggest problems are corruption and poverty, PM Imran said, "We have asked the Chinese government to help us with eliminating corruption and poverty alleviation.
"In the past five years, China has clamped down on corruption and we have to look for ways to curb it as white collar crime is hard to convict. Secondly, they have pulled out a large amount of people out of poverty," he added.
PM Imran further stressed, "What Pakistan needs most right now is peace and stability. One of the reasons we are at this stage is because of instability and war."
Responding to a question regarding relations with neighbours, the prime minister said, "Pakistan's relations, especially with Afghanistan and India, are crucial." He, however, expressed disappointment that India did not respond to Pakistan's initiative for dialogue.
"We need stability and that means peace with all neighbours. Our problems right now are with Afghanistan and India but I am afraid we received no response from India, in fact, we got rebuffed by New Delhi," he said.
"Now what we are hoping is that we wait until the elections then again we will resume our peace talks with India," he added, referring to upcoming national polls scheduled to take place by mid-May in India.
Regarding the measures his government is taking for the empowerment of women, PM Imran said, "You can only empower women if you educate them. When we were in power in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, we decided that for every 100 colleges built 70 would be for women."
"Our housing project will also involve women. Women also do not get their inheritance rights as mentioned in the Shariah law so we are also working to financially empower them and ensure that they get their rights," he said.
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