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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan said that the government has made necessary alignment for increasing the country’s exports and was moving towards industrialisation after dealing with crises.

Addressing the Pak-China Business Investment Forum (PCBIF), the prime minister said the government has faced crises, one after another, as in the first year stabilisation and then Covid-19. Now alignment has been made with priority to increase exports and put the country on the path of stabilisation besides reducing imports, and encouraging import substitution industrialisation in the country.

In addition, he said that other priorities of the government are to deal with money laundering and business-to-business, agriculture sector, and relocation of Chinese industries in Pakistan in the second phase of the CPEC.

He said that Pakistan has done well during the corona compared to the other countries and the Minister for Planning and his team deserve credit for it. He said the way the country dealt with corona was part of governance. He said that Pakistan can also learn from China about urban planning because urbanisation was creating problems of food security and pollution.

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The prime minister said that he would take up urban planning issue with the Chinese leadership during his trip being planned next week subject to corona. The premier also sought the feedback of the business community of both the countries with regard to difficulties faced by them for the promotion of bilateral trade.

He said one feedback he received from Chinese ambassador was that too much time is being consumed after signing agreement for implementation. He said that incentives are being provided for reallocation of industries in Pakistan, and the government realises that time is very important for investors as time is money for them and waste of time creates disincentive for them to invest in a country.

The prime minister said that the government is making all-out efforts to minimise the regulations that delays the process, and the Board of Investment and the CPEC Authority are removing hurdles to facilitate the investors. The prime minister said that this forum is important because it would take the country towards industrialisation.

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He said that the country was rapidly moving towards industrialisation in ‘60s but this process was choked by the nationalisation policy in 1970. He said that wealth creation is not possible without industrialisation. He said it was painful that small countries’ exports are far more than Pakistan’s and all countries have made export a national priority. He said Pakistan also lags behind in the IT revolution, whereas, Indian IT exports were significant even 20 years ago. He further stated very nominal incentives to IT have doubled its exports in a year’s time.

He said that all the countries have made progress by prioritising their exports and Pakistan has great advantage that a growing economy is on its neighbour with whom Pakistan had 70-year friendship. The prime minister said that Pakistan has young manpower. Ambassador of China to Pakistan Nong Rong expressed satisfaction on the increasing bilateral trade and investment volume between the two countries.

He apprised the audience on the two phases of the CPEC and said that he was confident that the PCBIF will further strengthen bilateral relations between Pakistan and China.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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