The Urban Unit and Planning & Development Department arranged a conference with the World Bank and other stakeholders to discuss the probabilities of improving investment climate in Punjab.It was well attended by wide group of stakeholders including the Finance Minister of Punjab, Advisor to CM on Economic Affairs and Planning& Development Board, Vice President of the World Bank Group, World Bank Country Director in Pakistan, Ex-Governor State Bank, head of top government departments and institutions, renowned economists and seasoned bureaucrats, policy makers, academia, think tank and public and private sector organisations. Dr Salman Shah briefed the participants on the government’s economic targets and way forward to achieve those. “Fiscal and budgetary constraints, like circular debt and its servicing were inherited by the government. The economic challenges faced by the government are enormous, but we have a clear vision and economic roadmap in shape of Punjab Growth Strategy, Punjab Spatial Strategy, establishment of PPP Authority, revitalisation of SEZ’s Authority, Investment Climate reforms and other reform initiatives.”The participants discussed ways to facilitate the private sector for improved business competitiveness of Punjab with special focus on macroeconomics and human capital development challenges faced currently. They also debated on key economic challenges affecting the GDP of Pakistan. Ms. Ceyla Pazarbasioglu, Vice President (Equitable Growth, Finance & Institutions), The World Bank Group, said, “The agenda of the conference is very important, Pakistan is going through economic stabilisation period but the missing part is the ‘Growth’. The discussion taking place here will enlighten us about the impetus needed to enhance productivity and growth. There is a need to boost productivity through access to markets and finance which will further ensure sustainable economic growth.” She expressed pleasure to see hospitality exhibited by people of Pakistan. She was impressed by the wide range of participating stakeholders gathered at the roundtable conference.Illangovan Patchamuthu, Country Director, The World Bank Group, said, “It is imperative for Pakistan to put place in appropriate policies and their robust implementation to address the critical challenge of high population growth rates. Among these include investing more in girls’ education and increasing women’s participation in Pakistan’s work force.” CEO the Urban Unit Khalid Sherdil presented on the mandate, vision, projects and success stories of the Urban Unit while describing its inevitable role in urban planning and development initiatives in the far and wide of the country.Speaking on the event, Habibur Rehman Gilani Chairman P&D Board, Government of the Punjab congratulated the Urban Unit on successful management of the event. Gilani remarked that the forum is a milestone that will help to improve economic growth environment of Punjab, by taking into account the intellectual input from the participants. He emphasised that the Government has utmost will, and efforts are in place to facilitate the business environment and investment in human capital so as to ensure sustainable economic development of Punjab.Punjab Finance Minister Hashim Jawan Bakht also appreciated the versatile cross section of the stakeholders, participating in the roundtable conference. He deemed that the exercise will help to suggest the government on the pertaining socio-economic issues. “The government aims to provide conducive environment for the private sector to further the agenda of business competitiveness in Punjab. This conference will enlighten the government in understanding the macro-level policy issues and the recommendations will pave the way for us to make informed decision making,” he told.