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Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday said reforms are needed in order to ensure economic growth in Pakistan.

Addressing a ceremony of distributing laptops and cheques in Karachi, PM Shehbaz said the government has developed a plan to push Pakistan towards economic growth.

“Despite all the challenges, Pakistan has averted potential default. Now, we need to introduce basic reforms for economic growth and restructuring. This is essential,” he said.

“Under these reforms, the elite would bear the burden, not the downtrodden masses,’ said the prime minister.

PM Shehbaz reiterated that his government’s tenure would end next month (August).

“If given a chance by the masses to form a new government, we alongside the provincial government would distribute 0.5-1 million laptops every year, which would bring a revolution,” he said.

“I believe that our youth are capable of earning billions of dollars, which our industry has been unable to do so,” he said.

Addressing bankers, PM Shehbaz said Rs30 billion has been disbursed under the PM Youth Programme.

“However, that is not enough as banks need to implement a mandatory loan disbursement scheme for the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs),” said PM Shehbaz.

“The time has come to have talks with banks and make a certain amount of funds mandatory for loan disbursement to SMEs,” he said.

PM Shehbaz criticised the previous government’s Temporary Economic Refinance Facility (TERF), under which soft loans worth $3 billion were disbursed to large business houses.

“However, SMEs, small farmers, and youth were not given due attention. If the distribution had been equitable, we would have been moving towards an egalitarian society,” he said.

The prime minister said that problems of corruption, and energy theft need to be eliminated to ensure economic growth.

“I believe the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) would push Pakistan towards growth,” he said.

Addressing the ceremony, Syed Aminul Haque, Minister of Information Technology and Telecommunication, shared that the global e-gaming industry stands at $300 billion, and is expected to cross $600 billion in the coming years.

“However, Pakistan’s contribution in this sector is almost nil,” he said.

The federal minister said that the government would establish two centers of excellence, in Karachi and Lahore, respectively. “A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed in this regard,” he added.

“At present, 28-29 companies are manufacturing mobile phones in Pakistan. Companies including Nokia and Samsung are manufacturing their products in the country,” he said.

The minister shared that 22 million mobile phones were manufactured in Pakistan last year. “For the first time in our history, we also exported mobile phones,” he said.

In the last three years, 77 new projects worth Rs80 billion were inaugurated to improve digital connectivity across Pakistan. “Rs18 billion were disbursed for digital transformation in interior Sindh alone,” he said.

The minister said that during his three-year tenure, the IT exports have increased from $1 billion to $2.6 billion. “In the coming years, we target to increase IT exports to $12-15 billion.”

Addressing the ceremony, Chief Minister Sindh, Syed Murad Ali Shah said that the provincial government in partnership with a subsidiary of Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) would establish a Rs25 billion technology park in NED University, Karachi.

“The groundbreaking of the project would be held next week,” he said.

Shah said that the province would provide land, while it would facilitate companies in this regard.

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Johnny Walker Jul 26, 2023 03:36pm
Dreams, lies and spin. Real agenda is to perpetuate their dynastic hold over this hapless country. The poor will keep suffering.
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