- Says government's priority is to promote export-oriented industries
Prime Minister Imran Khan announced the industrial package on Tuesday, adding that without enhancing the manufacturing base, Pakistan cannot progress, a statement that comes a day after he unveiled a number of measures to tame rising inflation, and boost economic productivity in the country.
In his address in Lahore, Khan said, “I should have announced an industrial package for the business community at the beginning of my government (in 2018).
“No country can achieve prosperity and growth (just) by selling vegetables and wheat — countries move ahead through industrialisation. The sophistication of industries enhance the wealth of the country,” he added.
The PM said that his government's priority was to promote export-oriented units. “However, we should not have given an open amnesty scheme announced earlier, it should have been directed towards industries.
While giving details of the package, Khan said that it has two aspects. “Firstly, capital is not being utilised in productive activities. We are focusing on small- and medium-sized industrial units, reducing regulations and facilitating them.
“Secondly, sick industries have also been given incentives to achieve industrial growth,” the PM said.
Khan added that the government would give overseas Pakistanis a five-year tax holiday for investing in Pakistan. “If they do a joint venture with a local company, they would still be given a five-year tax holiday, as we want to attract capital from abroad,” he added.
“The country would take off industrially only when overseas Pakistanis bring their capital and invest in Pakistan. The overseas community has the capital and skills, they only need confidence and incentives."
I should have announced an industrial package for the business community at the beginning of my government's tenure: Prime Minister Imran Khan
Meanwhile, the PM said that exports of the country’s IT sector, which was also among the ones being incentivised, have grown by 70%, but it remains far below its potential.
“The reason behind it was we didn’t give incentives to our freelancers and IT companies. The IT industry is different from others; this is the first time that complete incentives have been given to both companies and freelancers.”
Apart from giving incentives to the IT sector, Khan said that work needs to be done by conducting boot camps for IT professionals and changing the syllabus at the university level.
“Our biggest mistake was that we never focused on increasing our exports. A country which does not have a robust export base cannot move ahead,” he said.
Earlier, Federal Minister for Industries and Production Khusro Bakhtyar said that the industrial package would boost economic activity in the country.
“In order to achieve economic freedom and sustainable growth, Pakistan needs to enhance its manufacturing base to 25% of the GDP, which at present stands at 13%,” he said.
PM relief package
The announcement comes a day after Prime Minister Imran Khan announced to reduce petroleum products’ prices by Rs10 per litre and electricity tariff by Rs5 per unit.
In a televised address to the nation on Monday, the PM said he received a summary from OGRA for an increase in petrol price by Rs10 per litre, and instead of increasing it, the government decided to reduce oil prices by Rs10 per litre.
Similarly, the premier said that the government has decided to reduce electricity tariff by Rs5 per unit, which means the electricity bill would be reduced by 20-25%.
He said that the government had decided not to increase prices of oil and electricity till the next budget. He added that subsequent to Ukraine war, the prospect of a decrease in oil prices is not expected.