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KARACHI: Pasban Democratic Party (PDP) has welcomed the announcement of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to remove 17 percent general sales tax (GST) on solar panels and strongly demanded to manufacture these panels locally under imports substitution programme on war footing basis.

PDP Chairman Altaf Shakoor said that his party has already demanded that policies should be made to ensure that Pakistan goes solar, as salvage of our economy, as well as, securing future of our coming generations is closely linked to renewable energy.

He appreciated that the prime minister has stressed the need for a compulsory solar geyser policy for every household. He said that the Prime Minister is right when he says that currently, Pakistan’s oil import bill stood at $20bn, which could only be reduced by promoting green energy.

Altaf Shakoor said that banning import of luxury goods would greatly save our economy and help bridging the yawing current account, as well as, trade deficit.

He said after costly foreign loans, our huge oil import bill is another major factor devouring our precious foreign exchange reserves. He said though it would take decades to come out of the foreign debt trap, but going solar could provide some immediate relief in shape of lesser oil imports. He said it would also reduce skyrocketing bills of domestic, commercial, industrial and agricultural electricity consumers. He said solar run tube-wells and solar-run desalination plants could bring a green revolution in Pakistan. He said going solar would also help cutting emission of green house gases and mitigate harmful climate and environmental changes.

He congratulated the Karachi Chambers of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) and industrialists of the mega city for convincing the premier to abolish GST on solar panels and added that the next big task before them is it how to manufacture the solar panels and accessories locally. He said presently Pakistan imports solar panels from China and huge foreign exchange is spent on it. He said our industrial base is stronger enough to manufacture the solar panels in our own country.

He also sought a role of Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) in this regard. He said the PEC is a prestigious forum of Pakistani engineers but it is playing the role of a silent spectator when it is the matter of engineering innovations and introduction of modern engineering and local manufacturing.

He said India is making its own cars but Pakistan is still just a vehicle assembling country. He said we should now design and make our own products instead of just assembling and packaging foreign goods. He asked why we are not focusing on technology transfer and technology development.

He said our engineering universities are teaching outdated syllabus and they don’t promote technology research and development and start-up culture among students. He demanded overhauling the higher education system in Pakistan and bring modern changes to meet prevailing and future market requirements instead of teaching students about decades old outdated theories, technologies and concepts.

Altaf Shakoor said that reducing imports is not just agenda of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, but it is a national agenda. This should also be the agenda of all political parties of Pakistan. He said we have one hundred and one topics for politicking but for God’s sake economy should be spared from ongoing political mudslinging.

He said solidarity of Pakistan is above all political considerations. He said Pakistan is facing an economic emergency and all political actors should show a mature, responsible and patriotic attitude in this regard.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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Mubashir Munir May 22, 2022 11:58am
Very right ,we should try our best to become self sufficient in every field of economic activity to make Pakistan self sufficient in all economic fields
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