Businessman and chairperson of the Nishat Group Mian Mohammad Mansha has called upon the government to create an "enabling environment" for the business community so that investors can "concentrate and dedicate all efforts towards generating economic activity".
Mansha made these remarks during a dinner reception hosted by himself for President Arif Alvi and his wife. According to a press release, "Lahore-based business families" were also invited to the reception.
"The business community are major stakeholders and thus the government needs to be in constant dialogue with us so we can synergise efforts and attain economic progress," the press release quoted Mansha as saying.
"The business community also needs to be provided [with] an enabling environment, one that is free from harassment, intimidation and bureaucratic bottlenecks, so that they can concentrate and dedicate all efforts towards generating economic activity without which, neither growth can be achieved nor jobs can be created for our youth."
The Nishat Group chief also urged the government to privatise "inefficient state-owned enterprises", saying that they "are generating losses which have to be offset with tax money, which could otherwise be spent on the welfare of people".
President Alvi also spoke on the occasion and assured the business community that "the worst is over".
"We are cognisant of the fact that Pakistan is undergoing economic difficulties, but there are clear positive signals that the worst is over and our economy and indeed our society are in the process of recovery," the press release quoted the president as saying.
"The business community has rendered invaluable services in the development of Pakistan and we request you all for a little more patience while the government’s reform process takes root and demonstrates results. There is also a need to avoid cynicism and undue criticism of state institutions."
Mian Mansha lauded the government's "successes" in improving the security situation of the country and "in bringing back PSL".
He also highlighted the importance of stability in Afghanistan and said: "Prospects of peace in Afghanistan are also encouraging as it will improve security and economic activity in the region and allow enhancement of cross border trade between Pakistan, Afghanistan and into Central Asia.
"This also bodes well for the business communities of both countries and it holds the promise of economic development and prosperity for the people."
The dinner was attended by State Bank of Pakistan Governor Reza Baqir, Kohinoor Group Chairperson Tariq Saigol, Pak Elektron Limited Chairperson Naseem Saigol, Siddiqsons Group Chairperson Tariq Rafi, Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry Chairperson Anjum Nisar, former Minister of Foreign Affairs Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, Nestle Pakistan Chairperson Syed Yawar Ali, Ashraf Group Chairperson Zaka Ashraf, Royal Fans Chief Executive Khawar Rafique and Sapphire Group Director Shahid Abdullah, among others.
The Nishat Group of companies is one of the region’s largest and most diverse business groups with commercial interests in the finance, insurance, cement, textile, paper, power, dairy, hospitality, real estate and automobile sectors, among others in Pakistan.