ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Friday the country’s economic turnaround had brought down the curtains on bad days and heralded the time for economic growth, wealth creation and jobs for youth.
“I believe we have gone through the worst time. Insha Allah, in the coming days, Pakistan’s growth will not be turbulent with up and down cycles. Pakistan will start its journey from when it was the fourth largest economy in Asia in 1968 after Japan, China and India,” he said while addressing the groundbreaking ceremony of the Lodhran-Multan road.
The 62-kilometer north-bound section of the N-5 will connect three districts of Multan, Lodhran and Bahawalpur.
The project will complete in two years, costing around Rs6.8 billion.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Communications Minister Murad Saeed, Special Assistant to Prime Minister Malik Amir Dogar and parliamentarians from South Punjab attended the event.
The prime minister, who earlier unveiled the plaque to launch work on the two-lane road, said the incumbent government had constructed three times more roads compared with the previous one which used to be known only for constructing the roads.
He said within days of assuming the government, the opposition and media started questioning the Naya Pakistan and also made notions about government’s failure.
He said the government also faced criticism from the opposition which was poised to toppling the government unless its leaders were given the NRO.
“My own people had to face tough time. The media also gave an impression as if Naya Pakistan can emerge by switching a button,” he said. The prime minister said it always took time to change the status quo as the “mafias” resisted any such movement to protect their interests. Similarly, the opposition also yearned for the government’s failure “to protect their laundered money and properties abroad”.
He said rule of law was the only factor behind the nations’ success as all the developed countries had no room for mafias, and everyone was accountable before the law.
He said Pakistan sailed through the Covid situation owing to the government’s prudent policies contrary to India, despite the fact that both the countries had almost identical population density and weather conditions.
He said the government took a year to stabilize the economy, and in the second year it was hit by the pandemic, but it managed well by maintaining a balance between the lives and livelihood.
The prime minister said since the economy had made a turnaround, the government was now focusing on the agriculture sector by ensuring timely and reasonable payments of crops to the farmers who also got a bumper crop this year.
Moreover, the government was about to announce a special package for the farmers besides promoting industrial sector through special economic zones to boost exports.
Similarly, he said the IT sector was also under the government’s focus to exploit immense potential as India was earning around $80 billion from IT exports.
Imran Khan said construction of 10 dams was in progress to produce clean energy and utilize the 50,000MW potential of hydropower. For the first time, plantation on a massive scale was being made under the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami and new national parks being developed, he added. He said as the Covid-19 curve was on downward trend, particularly after the mass vaccination, the government would make efforts to uplift the tourism sector which had the potential to increase foreign reserves remarkably. Referring to the government’s incentives for the construction sector, the prime minister said banks had received demand of Rs60 billion loans for low-cost houses from the people who could never imagine owning a house. He said the government was also mulling to introduce finance houses other than banks to exclusively disburse housing loans.
In his address, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the Lodhran-Multan road would benefit three districts and connect the two divisions of Multan and Bahawalpur.
He said the South Punjab Secretariat was an extraordinary step that would go a long way to strengthen the federation by addressing the political imbalance.
He said just like the long-term policy of construction of dams in the country, the South Punjab Secretariat would also be a step towards balanced political mapping which no other government could do. He said in the upcoming Public Sector Development Program, South Punjab would have its separate share.
Communications Minister Murad Saeed said beside this road, the PSDP allocation has also been made for the Lodhran-Multan motorway.
Moreover, work on Sukkur-Hyderabad Motorway would start in three months’ time.
He said during the two-and-a-half years of PTI government, the NHA increased its revenue by 105 percent. He said within 10 days, work on Sialkot-Kharian Motorway would start and on Kharian-Rawalpindi section within three months.—APP
BR Staff Reporter Zaheer Abbasi adds: Speaking at a function of upgradation of Lodhran-Multan motorway, from Islamabad, Prime Minister Imran Khan stated that he would be giving “good news” to the nation in coming days.
As the country would be going to second phase of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), industries would be relocated in the special economic zones (SEZs), he said, adding that exports of information technology sector would attract government’s special attention.
The prime minister said that agriculture would be given “a big package” and to preserve water and produce clean energy, the government would be constructing 10 dams.
The premier said that the country can earn huge foreign exchange by exploiting the potential of tourism, and that his government was laying a lot of emphasis on the development of tourism. He said when the Indian economy was growing negative seven percent, Pakistan’s economic growth was four percent.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021