ISLAMABAD -  Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif yesterday invited the Belarusian investors to take advantage of the investment-friendly and growth-oriented policies which offered full legal protection to their investment with immense potential to excel in various sectors.

The Prime Minister said his government was pursuing its objectives of achieving fast-track progress through consistency and continuity of growth oriented policies and strengthening of the institutions. Addressing the Pakistan-Belarus Investment and Business Forum here, he said the government was also enabling completion of mega development projects on fast-track basis.

But in the last three years, his government had made significant progress in all these areas, he said, adding the government’s economic team strived and achieved a complete turnaround and within three years, the tax returns reached to 60 per cent.

He said by slashing extra expenditures, budget deficit was brought to half and the country’s growth rate reached an average of 4 per cent, while in the current year, it was hovering around 4.7 per cent.

The Prime Minister said his government was cognizant of the fact that in order to fight the menace of poverty and unemployment, this growth rate required to be accelerated and that was why the country has achieved the macro-economic stability.

The inflation rate was brought down by 3 per cent, the lowest in the country’s history in the one and half decade whereas the interest rate was also recorded as the lowest in the last forty years, he added. The Prime Minister referred to the strides made by the Pakistan Stock Exchange, saying that it had been the best performing market in the world.

The government had successfully completed its 3-year programme with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), he said, adding the IMF had expressed its satisfaction over the government’s reforms programme.

The Prime Minister said the international publications and rating companies had also acknowledged the government’s economic and development programmes.

He noted that still further steps were required to increase the bulk of investment and exports. The economic team led by dynamic minister Ishaq Dar was comprehensively working on a package to revive the export prospects.

The Prime Minister also reiterated that Pakistan was a peace loving country and committed to live in peace and dignity with all the regional countries and the world.

Pakistan had condemned the terrorism in all its forms and manifestations in any part of the world, he said, adding that he had firm belief that peace would usher in progress and development of the region.

The Prime Minister further said that his government was also working in the field of energy through long term policies. About 20,000 MW would be achieved as result of these policies out of which more than 10,000 MW of power would be produced by the end of 2018, eliminating the power outages.

About other salient features of the investment-friendly policies, the Prime Minister said the foreign equity to 100 per cent and 100 per cent repatriation of capital, profit and dividends were allowed to the foreign investors as the government was treating the local and foreign investors equally.

He said for shared prosperity, there was a need for wider connectivity and under this vision, $46 billion flagship of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was being implemented.

Through Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan and India (TAPI) gas pipeline and Central Asia and South Asia (CASA 1000) power project, the regional countries would be linked through energy corridor, he added.

He said this regional integration also offered unparallel opportunities for the Belarusian investors and companies to invest in these projects.

The Prime Minister expressed the confidence that with such ‘win win situation’ and vast perspectives for business growth, the Belarusian and Pakistani investors would further strengthen the bonds of friendship between the two countries.

President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko in his address stressed the need to strengthen the business and economic cooperation between the business and investors of the two countries.

He said the investment dynamics always boosted the relations among states, highlighting the investment opportunities and preferential treatment his country accorded to foreign investors especially from Pakistan.

Lukashenko further hoped that the investors and companies from Belarus would also explore opportunities in the CPEC.

He also stressed upon the investors and business people from both countries to find common opportunities in technical and industrial sectors, banking, taxing and certification.