FAISALABAD: The government of Nawaz Sharif had laid down a strong foundation for the comprehensive socio economic and industrial development of Pakistan but the next government intentionally sabotaged the uplift agenda which resulted in unprecedented inflation and price hike and we have to swallow the “bitter pill” of IMF, said Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
Addressing the members of the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FCCI), he appreciated the contribution of Faisalabad in overall economic achievements of Pakistan and said that business community has also played a key role in the social sector which is tantamount to earn this world and hereafter. He termed the exports as the backbone of the economy and said that textile is contributing the lion’s share in it.
About the high tariff of electricity and gas, he said that some external factors have barred us to continue the subsidy. He said that disparity of rate in gas price is an inter provincial issue and we would try our best to resolve it.
He said that economic sovereignty is our ultimate objective and to achieve it we must enhance our exports to a reasonable level with prudent policy initiatives. He expressed concern in the gap between imports and exports and said that we must work with all stakeholders to achieve the objective of progress and prosperity. He said that Pakistan is an agricultural country but it is an eye opener that we are importing wheat and cotton.
He appreciated the recent program launched to enhance cotton and wheat production and said that Stand By Arrangement (SBA) has given us breathing space. He said that it’s a very critical time as we would relinquish charge before August 12. “Caretaker government will replace us and conduct general election.” He said and added that as a result of this government a new government with public mandate will come into power and decide the future strategies for the country.
About the delay in LCs opening, he said that we had to take such harsh measures due to the paucity of dollars. Regarding cheap solar energy, he said that projects of alternate energy were introduced by Nawaz Sharif. “If we continue to tread on this path, we could generate bulk of cheap solar energy for the benefit of the public,” he said and added that now we must finalize manufacturing of solar panels, wind and hydel policies.
He said that if there was any element of corruption, it could be checked through a transparent accountability system but in its garb pegging national growth was a crime.
He said that we had planned to generate 10,000MW electricity and many foreign governments were ready to invest in these green projects but due to the political instability these projects could not be materialized. About the safe city, he said that Nawaz Sharif had approved this project but the next government failed to implement on it.
Shahbaz said that you should have asked this question from the previous government. He said that the government should provide land on long-term lease for industrialization to attract local as well as foreign investors but unluckily we fail to capitalize the opportunity of FIEDMC by managing it on commercial basis.
The Prime Minister said that the IMF deal has provided us a breathing space and we must exploit this opportunity to reconstruct our economy on a solid, sound and sustained basis.
The Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar also joined the meeting on zoom. He said that the business community of Faisalabad under the leadership of President FCCI has played a pivotal role in the revival of economy.
He said that we jointly worked with FCCI and pre & post budget discussions were held which were proved very productive but we were forced to inculcate some unavoidable tax measures in it. He said that he would have a dedicated meeting with FCCI on the refund issue.
Musaddiq Malik, Federal Minister for Petroleum said that the fifty-fifty formula has been approved to bring down the prices of gas. He said that we are also negotiating with Azerbaijan to get cheap LNG at spot rates.
He further said that the government has signed an agreement with Qatar to purchase LNG at 13 dollars whereas its spot rate is only 7/8 dollar. He said that the government cannot violate this agreement but we have allowed industrialists to purchase LNG from Qatar at spot rate. He said that we would facilitate them by providing this imported gas at their doorsteps, however, they would not be allowed to resell this gas.
Earlier President FCCI Dr Khurram Tariq explained in detail the strategic importance of Faisalabad and said that it is being neglected by the successive governments. He said that the safe city project and IT University projects are still incomplete. Similarly, the other cities are enjoying the facility of public transport that is not available in this third biggest metropolis of Pakistan.
He appreciated the cooperation of the government and said that FCCI was given the chair of anomaly committee for the first time in the history of Pakistan. He said that Faisalabad has credit to launch the largest flood relief operation in the country.
He further said that now we have launched a new project to transform Faisalabad into a city of brotherhood. He said that we have adopted Labour Welfare Schools which are giving best results as compared to other private schools.
FCCI President Dr Khurram Tariq presented a memento to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. The function was also attended by Federal Ministers Rana Sanauallah, Maryum Aurangzeb, SAPMs, Federal Secretaries, Commissioner Madam Silawat Saeed, Mian Muhammad Adrees, Senior Vice President Dr Sajjad Arshad, Vice President Haji Muhammad Aslam Bhalli, businessmen, Mian Abdul Manan, Talal Chaudhary and officials of the Local Administration.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023