LAHORE -  Punjab Governor Rafiq Rajwana has said that the government is committed to cope with the economic challenges and is making all-out efforts to overcome these issues. He said that no country could achieve the target of economic growth without due participation of the private sector.

He was addressing the farewell dinner thrown in the honour of the outgoing Consul General of the United States in Lahore, Zachary V Harkenrider, by the All Pakistan Business Forum (APBF).

The event was attended by a large number of distinguished men and women and seniors from the public and private sectors.

The governor said the role of business community was crucial for the progress & prosperity of the country and that it should help the government achieve the economic goals.

Addressing the farewell meeting, APBF President Ibrahim Qureshi observed that Pakistan had taken steps over the years to liberalise its trade and investment regimes.

Highlighting the economic potential of Pakistan’s young, growing population, and the nation’s increasingly large and sophisticated domestic consumer market, the APBF President offered recommendations to help create a better business environment for US partner companies in Pakistan by identifying and addressing barriers to investment and growth in the country. “The APBF is working hard for creating the conditions necessary for robust commercial engagement between US businessmen and those of Pakistan,” said Qureshi. “There is a dire need to promote economic vitality by strengthening private sector as internal dynamism has faded away due to acute energy shortage, deteriorating law and order and political instability,” he noted.

Qureshi paid a rich tribute to Harkenrider, admiring his outstanding services for further strengthening the friendly relationship between Pakistan and the United States. Harkenrider, on the occasion, expressed his pleasure over the successful completion of his tenure in Pakistan and appreciated the great support provided to him by the vibrant business community. He said that the APBF President had work hard to present a more realistic and positive image of Pakistan before international investors.

The outgoing US Consul General said that the United States accounted for 15.7 percent of Pakistan’s exports, and $1.12 billion of its imports.

He said that economic reforms required tough decisions, but it would help Pakistan overcome fiscal, energy and agriculture challenges.

He said trade also had the potential to create jobs for an estimated 20 million Pakistanis entering the labour force in the next 10 years.

“Pakistanis could reach their full potential when they have economic opportunities,” he said, and added, “American companies are productive and progressive members of Pakistan’s society and economy.”

Harkenrider said the United States had developed diplomatic relations with Pakistan since its creation, and it again announced  to invigorate ties with Pakistan to foster a deeper and comprehensive trade partnership.