USAID keen to engage with private sector in Punjab

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Amraiz Khan

Lahore

A four-member USAID Mission, led by Provincial Director Kevin Sharp called on the LCCI President Almas Hyder on Friday and discussed economy of Pakistan & trade relations with United States.
USAID mission members Kathleen McDonald, Kanwal Bokharey and Haroon Raheem, LCCI former Senior Vice Presidents Amjad Ali Jawa, Khawaja Khawar Rasheed, EC Members Mian Zahid Javed, Adeeb Iqbal Sheikh, Waseem Chawla and Asia Sail Khan also spoke on the occasion.
“There is a lot of scope in Pakistan’s sports, textile, information technology, engineering, surgical goods, leather and various other sectors”, Almas Hyder said and added that interested foreign franchises would be welcomed in Pakistan. He said that already a number of foreign companies are operational in Pakistan successfully.
He said that Pakistani companies should have access to all international forums where they can sale their products.
Almas Hyder informed the USAID Mission that LCCI had various meetings with the Prime Minister, other high official and discussed taxation system, ease of doing business and harmonization of taxes.
To a question about the PM’s recent visit to United States, the LCCI President said that it is a great beginning of a new era.
About the economy of Punjab, the LCCI President said that its contribution in Pakistan’s GDP is around 54%. During the last five years, the average annual provincial GDP growth rate has been 4.9 percent. He said that the private sector in Punjab produces more than 90 percent of the goods and services in the province. It is therefore, the main driver of economic growth, employment and social outcomes in the province
On the economic front, USAID can play a vital role in enhancing private investment and private sector led growth in Punjab. USAID can facilitate by bringing private sector investment and expertise for developing Special Economic Zones in various districts of province. This would prove to be a catalyst in enhancing economic growth in the province.
He said that the industrial sector holds a significant position in Punjab’s economy, and an even greater potential. The industrial sector of Punjab contributes 17.5 percent to the total value of goods and services produced in the economy. It employs almost 9.3 million people, of which 4.58 million are engaged in the SME sector.
The Mission members said that considering the importance of Punjab in Pakistan’s economy, USAID would like to engage more with private sector in Punjab, particularly in commercial ventures e.g. franchising.
USAID believes that there is a lot of appetite in private sector for collaboration with USAID and it would like to help businesses to invest more in Pakistan. USAID already has various programs for facilitating private sector.

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