ISLAMABAD  - Pakistan would welcome foreign direct investment from friendly countries including Japan and others instead of aid or loan.

Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar said this while talking to Hiroshi Inomata Ambassador of Japan to Pakistan who called on him at Ministry of Finance. Senator Ishaq Dar said that Pakistan economy has started to show positive results due to structural reforms and measures introduced by the present government, as tax collection, GDP growth rate and foreign exchange reserves are moving up and the rate of inflation is going down.

He mentioned that due to confidence in Pakistan’s economic policies Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) has ranked Pakistan second in the world in terms of business growth. He said that if the survey is any guide then the Japanese companies should expand their business in the country.

He added that, instead of aid or loan, the Government would welcome foreign direct investment from friendly countries including Japan. He assured the Ambassador that Japanese investors will be facilitated to invest in Pakistan where huge investment opportunities are available.

The Japanese Ambassador said that Japan fully supports the reforms programme and economic policies undertaken by the present government and looks forward to renew its economic relations with Pakistan. The Japanese Ambassador said that a delegation of Japanese businesspersons would visit Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi next month to explore avenues of co-operation. He hoped that the visit will help improve trade relations between the two countries

Later, a delegation of US-Pakistan Business Council, US Chamber of Commerce called on Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar at the Finance Ministry.

The Finance Minister briefed the delegation on economic situation in the Country. He said that when the PML-N Government took over, eight months ago, the economy was in tatters. The Government had to undertake serious painful measures to bring things back on the track. He said that due to prudent measures, today, the situation is much better. Budget deficit is going down and tax revenues have witnessed 17.7pc growth, in the last eight months. Inflation is under control and we are on course to achieve the targets set for the fiscal year. He said that consistency in the economic policies will be ensured for protection of investors. He added that there is a huge potential in the renewable energy and hydro carbon sectors.

Miles Young, Chairman of US-Pakistan Business Council congratulated the Finance Minister on the economic turn around. He said that the situation in Pakistan is much better than eight months ago, when he last visited Pakistan during the general elections. He said that the international projection of Pakistan is also positive and it should stimulate American interest to the available investment opportunities. He informed that the Council is poised to make additional investments in Pakistan in the renewable energy and IT sectors. He also informed that the delegation will meet public and private entities in Lahore and Karachi to explore areas where the US investors may like to invest.

Ms Caroly Brehm, Member, Board of Directors, US-Pakistan Council said that Pakistan has made remarkable progress in short time and her company Proctor and Gamble is expanding its business by making additional investment in Pakistan. She said that her company sees a great potential in the huge Pakistani market.