LAHORE: Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on Saturday stressed that Pakistan’s grave issues of terrorism, law and order and economy must not be used for political mileage.
He was addressing the 37th FPCCI (Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry) Export Awards distribution ceremony at a local hotel.
Balochistan Governor Muhammad Khan Achakzai, Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister Syed Mehdi Shah, Federal Commerce Minister Engineer Khurram Dastagir Khan, FPCCI President Zubair Ahmed Malik, SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry Vice President Iftikhar Ali Malik, FPCCI President-Elect Zakria Usman and others were also present.
The Prime Minister said the government was striving to tap all resources to overcome energy shortage, which was the very basic need to keep the industry operational; jack up exports through increased production; ensureeconomic development and people’s prosperity.
Nawaz Sharif recalled that in his recent visit to United States, he had communicated to the US President, John Kerry and other officials for provision of trade to Pakistan, instead of aid.
The Prime Minister said the PML-N Government has always encouraged the private sector, adding that it was very unfortunate day for Pakistan, when a number of profit-earning institutions were nationalized just to oblige cronies and workers.
Had the institutions not been nationalized, Pakistan would not have been facing problems like poverty, ignorance and a crippled economy today and the nation is still paying the price of that drastic mistake, he added.
He said that the rulers who had tarnished Pakistan’s image, could not escape by talking of state and non-state actors, as the terrorism monster got stronger due to their ill-conceived policies.
Utter seriousness is needed to eliminate this years-old menace, he said, adding that the PML-N government was committed to improving law and order by weeding out terrorism.
Muhammad Nawaz Sharif said the PML-N government inherited a number of problems including energy shortage from its predecessors and soon after coming to power, it had to pay Rs 500 billion circular debt to the power sector. “The PML-N government is fully aware of its responsibilities. We are using all avenues from where we can get electricity, as I believe in actions and not in mere promises”, he said.
“The government is focusing on speedy completion of all energy projects including Gaddani Power Project, Diamir Bhasha Dam, Bunji Dam and Dasu Dam, civil nuclear power projects, Neelum Jehlum Hydro-power Project and more,” he added.
The Prime Minister said that the gas shortage should have ended during last five years but unfortunately, it continued to persist till the PML-N government came to power.
He, however, added that his government was working on the issue and gas shortage would be bridged within next one and a half years.
In addition to power generation, he said the government was also paying full attention to road infrastructure projects, especially the Lahore-Karachi Motorway to improve trade activities in the country.
“If motorway projects in the previous PML-N tenures had started, today there would have been a huge network of motorways up to Karachi, Balochistan and KP and hence trade and business activities would have increased substantially in Pakistan,” he added.
The Prime Minister said that directions for establishment of an executive committee, comprising of business and trade representatives, have been issued.
It would meet with government officials at least after every three months, while he and the relevant minister would also sit along with them and all business related matters would be sorted out, besides taking policy decisions on the spot, he added.
“I think this is the fastest mean to improve trade, exports and industry,” he observed.
He also called upon the industrialists and traders to give their recommendations to the government for doubling the country’s export volume. The Prime Minister said that Khujrab-Gwadar trade corridor would bring about development and prosperity in the entire region of Gilgit-Baltistan and the country. Nawaz Sharif said that the government initiated the Youth Business Loan Scheme to make the Pakistani youth independent by starting or expanding their own businesses. During the ceremony, the Prime Minister gave away FPCCI export awards while the FPCCI President presented a souvenir to him.
The Prime Minister also congratulated the President-elect FPCCI Zakaria Usman and appreciated the services of outgoing Federation’s President Zubair Ahmed Malik for playing an effective role in promotion of business. Nawaz Sharif also acknowledged the services of Iftikhar Ali Malik, the Vice President of SAARC CCI.