ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday stressed the need for an “economy charter” to put the country back on the path to progress and prosperity, saying economic stability is linked to political stability.
Addressing businessmen at a pre-budget conference held here in Islamabad, Prime Minister Shehbaz stressed that he called for a cautious and comprehensive approach for economic recovery.
Reiterating his call for a Charter for the Economy, he said it was high time for all stakeholders to come together to formulate an unalterable policy framework for the country to achieve growth based on agriculture and agriculture. export.
The conference brought together farmers, IT experts, businessmen, investors and farmers from all over the country, who shared their proposals with the government regarding their respective fields.
“We will all have to move together. The government will need advice from stakeholders and experts. The government will form an agriculture and export task force to formulate comprehensive plans,” he said.
The Prime Minister said that due to the limited time, the incumbent government was focusing on short and medium term plans.
Citing Bangladesh’s successful economic growth, he said that being rich in immense resources, human talents and dedication, Pakistan could also achieve excellence through efficiency and modern techniques.
He thanked the experts for their contribution during the session which lasted over six hours.
The Prime Minister said that due to non-execution of plans, Pakistan was lagging behind while other countries like India were excelling in following their development plans.
He said that in 1991, the Pakistani rupee was stronger than the Indian currency, but in the current scenario, there was no comparison between the two. Pakistan has fallen behind because development plans have not been executed, he added.
“It is up to the government to carry out these suggestions. We have to convert them into reality. This will not happen until there is political stability,” he noted.
The Prime Minister called for providing modern facilities in the villages to improve the standard of living of the people and discourage massive urbanization.
He said the idea of Danish schools also serves the same purpose of providing high quality education to students living in rural areas.
Shehbaz Sharif said agriculture could turn Pakistan around by improving the yield of cotton, wheat and other crops, and mentioned the country’s $4.5 billion palm oil import bill which could be reduced through local production.
He said that although the provinces got the maximum share of the National Finance Commission (NFC) award after the 18th Amendment, the federation could develop comprehensive plans in conjunction with the provinces.
He told the assembly that despite the passage of years, the people of Gwadar were deprived of drinking water and electricity. “Is this how nations are made?” he questioned and said the deep water port was also losing depth due to siltation, which would impact the movement of heavy ships.
He said that being an agricultural country, Pakistan would import three million tons of wheat in the current year. The Prime Minister also lamented the unnecessary delay in completing the last of the four government-initiated PML-N LNG plants that should have been completed in March 2020.
“We need to boost export-based industry. It’s all about integration. The government will focus on improving exports to create jobs and prosperity,” he commented.
On foreign policy, he said the incumbent government is restoring ties with friendly countries including China and Turkey as their plans have encountered unnecessary obstacles in the past.
He said that to boost exports, there was a need to create export processing zones where land should be provided to industrialists at no cost through a merit-based formula.
He said he had set the Ministry of Information Technology a target of $15 billion in IT exports over the next two years, with India’s IT exports reaching $200 billion.
He said that due to the limited fiscal space available to the government, projects of national importance should be carried out under public-private partnership, including exploration for gas and renewable energy.
Referring to the $2.5 billion annual deficit of sick entities, the prime minister said the government could save the huge sum by unloading the “deadwood”.
Referring to some difficult financial decisions made by the government, he said, despite knowing their political cost, the coalition parties unanimously opted for decision-making in the national interest.
He said to support the poor against inflation, the government gives Rs 2,000 to every deserving family under the Benazir income support scheme.
Calling on the elite to sacrifice, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif hinted at taxing the real estate sector and encouraging vertical construction to save land for agricultural use.