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LAHORE: The fiscal year 2021-22 will be the year of rehabilitation and the universal health coverage programme will ensure the health and the special development package for the industrial sector, said Punjab Finance Minister Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakht while presiding over a pre-budget consultative meeting with leading economists here on Wednesday.

The event was organized by the sub-national governance programme and it was attended by Planning and Development Chairman Abdullah Sumbal, Punjab Finance Secretary Iftikhar Sahoo, Urban Unit Chief Executive Officer Dr Omar, and economists Dr Ghulam Nabi, economist Dr Ali Cheema, Maroof Syed, Javed Iqbal and Nazish Afraz.

The participants discussed various opportunities that can be used by the Punjab government to support businesses and service industry, including regulatory guillotine, improving agriculture extension services, removing bottlenecks for agricultural productivity, developing futuristic skills and looking at pandemic recovery plans.

The minister told the participants that problems relating to agricultural productivity will be resolved while the provision of services in the relevant sectors will be improved. “The development of agro-related industries will also be an important part of the future development agenda. Moreover, providing social security will also be the top priority of the Punjab government in the next budget,” he added.

“Without industrial development, economic recovery is unthinkable. Sustainable steps are being taken for the development of the industrial sector, including investor protection, the establishment of industrial zones and training of labor force with certain skills in consultation with stakeholders,” he added.

He told the meeting that the present government was also ensuring necessary amendments in the laws to facilitate industry and trade and to promote economic activities in the province. He was of the view that full assessments of different sectors with experts, academia, citizens and those, directly and indirectly, involved in different value chains will lead to a holistic and inclusive budget-making process.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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