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LAHORE: Secretary General of Pakistan Awami Tehrik Khurram Nawaz Gandapur has said that the business community has a fundamental role to play in the economy. Their facilitation and effective participation is critical to the national growth and development.

He was speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry. LCCI President Kashif Anwar also spoke on the occasion while Executive Committee Members were present in the meeting.

PAT SG said that will of the authorities is the more important thing. He said that if the political will and political capital is not there, the development is not possible. He said that during the last 50 years we have amended our constitution more than any other country.

He added that the evil is in the root and we are cutting the branches. In the 60s, we were thinking that we may not be able to compete with India militarily and economically so we have decided to expedite our nuclear program. It was Agha Shahi who initiated the nuclear program. He said that after getting the nuclear capability, we have to cut short our expenses.

He said that we have two kinds of remittances coming in. First one is our subsistence remittances which some body sends to his family back home. And the other is selective remittances which are being sent by choice or for the investment purposes.

Unfortunately, we have turned those remittances towards the construction sector because the successive governments do not have a broad based policy. We have over the years developed our weaponry capability but civil sector have not seen any development.

Khurram Nawaz Gandapur said that every government remained in a constant state of crisis. We have the worst aircraft employee ratio in the world even though we were the best of our times. He said that grey economy needs a stability of policies and necessary assurances without those it may not be coming into the white economy.

He said that our government has more vehicles than the whole of EU so we need to cut our expenses. We have to go towards the longstanding profitable sustainable projects like building small dams in a big quantity, reducing the cost of capital for the small and medium scale, provision of raw materials on affordable rate to our small manufacturers besides providing them with cheap loans.

He said that from education sector to our health sector, we need drastic changes. PAT and LCCI need to patronize each other for the promotion of IT sector which offers a great deal with minimum investment.

Speaking on the occasion, LCCI President Kashif Anwar said that Lahore Chamber has urged all the political parties to sign the Charter of Economy. He said that the suggestions in this regard have been compiled and sent to them.

He said that the problems will not be resolved until all the political parties sign a Charter of Economy. “First think about the economy then something else”, the LCCI President said adding that the business community should be taken on board while formulating businesses-related policies.

He said that the decrease in remittances is a matter of concern. The government has to take steps to build the confidence of Pakistanis living abroad. He also stressed the need to address the disparity between the rates of the US dollar in the open market and the interbank market.

He said that political stability is very important to develop the economy. He said that the government should reduce non-productive expenditure so that the burden on the exchequer is reduced.

He said that trade and monetary policy should be given immediately to help the development of industry and trade. He said that the loss-making State Owned Enterprises have become white elephants for the economy. The government should take immediate steps to make them profitable or go for their privatization.

He also emphasized the need for immediate increase in tax base. He said that access to easy loans should be made easy for the SMEs. He said that we have to promote alternative energy sources of energy and energy mix.

He said that dams should be constructed to control floods and to generate cheap electricity. He said that a way has to be found to control the grey economy. He said that the country can earn valuable foreign exchange by exporting skilled labor.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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