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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Friday urged businessmen to help the government in overcoming the multiple challenges facing the country and take lead in creating jobs and enhancing exports.

Speaking to a gathering of businessmen and investors here, he said Pakistan was faced with multiple challenges and the economy could only make progress in the presence of political stability.

He said common man wanted facilities of health and education, service delivery and resolution of everyday problems.

Pakistan on its way to overcoming economic challenges: PM Shehbaz

He said in the last one year inflation went high in the country and at the international level, adding the inflation was acutely high even when he formed the government a year ago.He pointed out that political instability was cause of present difficult economic conditions.

The last government broke agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and then the country was devastated by the biggest climate-induced floods of the century, he mentioned.

The prime minister said the federal government spent Rs 100 billion - Rs 72 billion through the Benazir Support Programme and Rs 20 billion through National Disaster Management Authority - for rehabilitation of flood victims besides the billions of rupees spent by provincial governments for the same purpose.

Another reason of economic hardship was the rise in international oil prices and the substantial increase in the oil import bill, he remarked.

During COVID pandemic, he said the gas prices were low in the international market but the previous government did not signed agreements for the purchase of gas.

Shehbaz said International Monetary Fund imposed stringent conditions for its loan programme and still his government met all of those conditions and many friendly countries came forward and bridged the financing gaps faced by Pakistan without putting any conditions.

Brotherly countries wished Pakistan to make progress and Chinese government and even their commercial banks rolled over the loans, he said adding the government sincerely tried to avail the IMF programme and the Chinese Prime Minister also cooperated with Pakistan.

He credited businessmen with the continuous economic growth seen over the last decades, adding however, now a major chunk of the investment was made in real estate projects and high rises and the exports had come down.

Talking about political situation, he said in the last one year the country had seen political instability and division in every section of society had shaken the foundation of Pakistan and a particular mindset was created which was harmful for the nation.

What happened on May 9 was unthinkable, Shehbaz Sharif said adding Pakistan was created by Quaid-e-Azam with great objectives and millions of people migrated and reached Pakistan in battered conditions.

Benazir Bhutto was martyred, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was judicially murdered and Nawaz Sharif was mistreated but Pakistan never faced such instability.

He said our armed forces faced the enemy with bravery in the wars and now it was unfortunate to see that on May 9, barbaric acts were committed and monuments of ours martyrs were desecrated.

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Mushtaque Ahmed May 27, 2023 09:30am
Para 8 "During COVID pandemic, he said the gas prices were low in the international market but the previous government did not *signed* agreements for the purchase of gas." Pls fix marked word in the last line of the above para to read "... government did not *sign* agreements for the purchase of gas."
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Tulukan Mairandi May 27, 2023 12:09pm
Would appreciate if Avenfield London Brother could chip in too.
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