KARACHI: Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal on Thursday urged the business leaders to promote brand ‘Pakistan’ globally by ensuring standard.

Delivering a keynote address at the 11th CEO Summit Asia ‘Believe in Pakistan’, he said that from a weak start, Pakistan today has the capacity to build its own automobiles, jets and nuclear plants.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) took centre stage at the event and the minister termed it as a great opportunity. “Pakistan has a key role in integrating almost three billion people of South Asia, China and Central Asia,” he remarked.

The minister said the country had been projected negatively for the last 15 years but “the tide has turned for better now and the rating agencies, which were issuing default warnings in 2014, are now upgrading Pakistan’s outlook attracting foreign investors.”

He stressed the need for improving the country’s competitiveness — quality, productivity and innovation — which is the key for survival of any economy in this era of global integration.

“All indicators are showing positive signs and by 2025 Pakistan will be among the top 25 economies in the world,” the minister hoped.

He further said that the true role of leadership is to transform individual excellence into collective competence.

During the event, Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) Chairperson Marvi Memon also referred CPEC as the game changer which will generate employment and connectivity for the poor.

She offered a window to BISP statistical database to the business leaders for targeting poor on a district level while carrying out corporate social responsibilities.

Lucky Cement Chairman Muhammad Ali Tabba said: “Pakistan is blessed with everything, in terms of resources and human capital, we need to take initiatives to convert it into opportunities.”

He disclosed that his group would be investing around $1.8bn in cement, energy, agriculture and chemicals during next four years.

Tameer Bank President Nadeem Hussain informed that Pakistan is one of the few countries that has a one-minute account concept and around 10 million mobile wallets have been opened through this process.

“In last 68 years, commercial banks have opened around 25 million accounts, while through one-minute process the industry is now opening around a million accounts per month.”

And by 2025, he anticipated that 100m accounts, with almost Rs100bn (assuming Rs1,000 in each account) would be brought into the banking system. “Currently, Rs3 trillion is floating outside the banking system,” he added.

The event, followed by panel discussions, also marked the CEO of the year award and the launch of ‘100 Performing CEOs, leaders and companies of Pakistan’.

Published in Dawn, November 27th, 2015