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FAISALABAD: Pakistan must exploit its own natural resources to get rid of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and to provide maximum relief to masses through a self reliant economy, said State Minister for Industries and Production Tasneem Ahmed Qureshi.

Addressing the business community at the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FCCI) here on Monday, he said that the ill-conceived policies of the previous government have triggered inflation and fomented problems not only for the country but also for the people belonging to almost every segment of the society.

He said that political uncertainty remained rife but the previous government could not steer the country out of the crises during its 3.5 years tenure.

He said that Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) is fully cognizant of providing relief to the people in addition to making sincere efforts to revive the economy and provide maximum facilities to the industrialists and exporters.

He said that during the last PPP tenure from 2008 to 2013, the exports jumped up to 25 billion dollars which are still in the negative mode. He said that our ultimate objective is to facilitate the people enabling them to earn wealth and then pay taxes to generate revenue whereas the other governments preferred to tax the people without facilitating them to earn. He said that the increase in electricity tariff had badly hit the masses especially the white-collar class.

Tasneem Qureshi said that some governments launched yellow cab and other incentives schemes to enhance its vote bank at the cost of national exchequer but now they have realized the importance of strengthening the economy instead of focusing on its vote bank.

He said that North Waziristan is rich in uranium and other precious metals and we should explore these minerals to meet our financial needs and make Pakistan self-reliant instead of depending on the IMF. “We must depend upon our own resources instead of begging for foreign loans”, he added. He quoted the example of the Thar Coal mine and said that similarly we must exploit other mineral resources to generate funds for national development.

Responding to a question, he rejected this notion that the elite class is enjoying the loans while the masses are being crushed under the ever increasing inflation and taxes. He said that he had twice rejected a proposal to proceed abroad to attend meetings whereas Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto was spending from his own pocket for the foreign tours to build a soft image of Pakistan in the global community.

He said that his party (PPP) in his previous term had chalked out a well-conceived plan to increase the size of the national economy up to 100 billion dollars and exports to 300 billion dollars, but these plans could not be materialized due to the opposition from the different segments.

He condemned the suicide bombing in Bajaur and said that Pakistan is going to embrace good time and the people would also enjoy its benefits very soon. Responding to yet another question, he said that a pleasant change is waiting for the people of Pakistan as Bilawal Bhutto would become next prime minister and the country would make progress at leaps and bounds under his able leadership.

Earlier, Senior Vice President FCCI Dr Sajjad Arshad in his welcome-address briefed the state minister about the importance of Faisalabad and FCCI. He said that this city was contributing 60 % towards the total textile exports of Pakistan while 40% workers are getting jobs in the textile sector alone. He appreciated the efforts of the current government to save the country from bankruptcy but said that the problems are still hunting the business community and we must focus on exports, foreign remittances and foreign direct investment to stabilize the national economy.

He said that 50 percent of the industry is closed despite the fact that Pakistan is blessed with unlimited natural resources. He termed inconsistency and lack of uniformity in policies as major problems which discourages the foreign investors to invest in Pakistan.

He said that the industrial closure has fomented unemployment and the government must take measures to facilitate the industrial sector. He said that the share of the industrial sector in GDP is 18 percent while its contribution in taxes is 57%. On the other hand, the share of the agriculture sector is 22 percent in GDP while its role in taxes is only one percent.

He said that one tax after another is being imposed which has made the life of the common man miserable. “We must take tax as a byproduct of wealth instead of making it as a source of income for the government”, he added.

Later, Malik Ameen, Muhammad Fazil, Shafiq Shah, Aftab Ahmad Butt, Sohail Butt, Hajji Muhammad Abid, Ayub Aslam Manj, Rana Naeem and Malik Manzoor participated in the question-answer session while SVP Dr Sajjad Arshad along with Vice President Hajji Muhammad Aslam Bhalli presented FCCI shield to State Minister Tasneem Qureshi.

Later, “Fateha” was offered for the martyrs of the Bajaur incident.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023


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