December 2, 2023

PM vows to take country towards economic stability in next 14 months

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<<Shehbaz takes notice of banks’ poor performance in Hajj operations>>

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has expressed the resolve to take the country towards economic stability in the next fourteen months.
Addressing the inaugural session of Turn Around Pakistan Conference being hosted by Ministry of Planning and Development in Islamabad on Tuesday, he however, stressed this will require political stability. He said we will have to rise above personal interests and take such long term decisions which change destiny of the country.
Shehbaz Sharif said Pakistan will receive two billion dollars from the International Monetary Fund but our ultimate goal is to achieve self-reliance as it only guarantees to independently take political and economic decisions.
The Prime Minister said the country is faced with difficult challenges but it is our utmost effort to collectively steer the country out of them. He expressed satisfaction that majority of the affluent class has accepted the super tax which will help generate two hundred and thirty billion rupees. He assured that this money will not be spent on current expenditures but will be used for economic development. He said a policy will be framed very soon which will encompass these development schemes.
Regretting delay in completion of various projects as well as the failure of previous government to sign on spot or long term agreement for purchase of LNG, he said we are now importing coal from Afghanistan to address the issue of power outages. He said since this transaction will be in Pakistani rupee, this will help country save two billion dollars. He said this coal is suitable for the power projects installed under the CPEC.
The Prime Minister asked participants of the conference to give suggestions for uplifting agriculture and agro based industries and bolstering of exports besides that do away with obstacles in the way of businesses and investment. He said we want to end red-tapism and the culture of NOCs within a month.
Speaking on the occasion, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail said Pakistan no longer faces the threat of default. He said we aim to reduce the primary deficit from 1600 billion rupees to 125 billion rupees surplus during the current fiscal year.
Miftah Ismail stressed that every Pakistani should become a tax payer to put the country s economy on the right track. He categorically said that his government has taken difficult decisions and will not hesitate to take more difficult decisions in future as well in order to strengthen the economy.
In his remarks, Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal said Pakistan can achieve self-reliance by pursuing the path of bringing structural reforms and bolstering exports by promoting the industrial and agriculture sectors.
Emphasizing the need for equal development, Ahsan Iqbal said Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has envisaged a program to uplift twenty poorest districts on fast track basis in order to reduce the gap of development.
He said we will have to bring the country out of polarization and anarchy besides unleash the potential of our entrepreneurs to put the country in the right direction.
President Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industries Muhammad Shakil Munir assured to support government in difficult situation faced by the country. He suggested that a special industrial zone be established for businessmen of the capital. For this purpose, he said the businessmen will setup industries with their own resources provided the government gives them land under section-IV.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has taken notice of the poor performance on the part of the banks in the country’s Hajj operations for this year.
Chairing a meeting of the Federal Cabinet in Islamabad on Tuesday, the prime minister sought a report from the finance minister regarding complaints about applications of intending pilgrims and banks.
The finance minister will submit the report within a week after determining the people responsible for this mismanagement.
Shehbaz Sharif also directed the minister for religious affairs to ensure the best facilities and arrangements for pilgrims.
The federal cabinet also decided to issue multiple visas for six months to Afghan transporters which will help promote trade with Afghanistan and Central Asia.
Later, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb, Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman, and Adviser to Prime Minister on Kashmir Affairs Qamar Zaman Kaira briefed the media.
The federal cabinet approved the country’s first-ever National Hazardous Waste Management Policy, Sherry Rehman, adding that a national action plan for the implementation of the policy will be framed within three months.
She said the policy will help protect the country’s environment by managing the solid waste which is polluting land and water and causing health issues.
She said the policy has been framed after consultation with all provinces so that a country-wide system of responsible disposal of hazardous waste including plastics, hospital waste, and electronic waste can be established.
She said under the policy, a mechanism has also been devised to stop the illegal dumping of foreign solid waste and garbage in the country.
The Minister for Information said the cabinet strongly condemned the attack on polio team in Tank, that claimed three lives including two constables. She said the Prime Minister has sought inquiry report of the incident.
She said Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah has directed to initiate the inquiry and a comprehensive report of the matter will be submitted in the next Federal Cabinet meeting.
She said Federal Cabinet has also approved new rules under visa regime review for Afghan citizens. Pakistan’s consulates all over the world will process the visas of Afghan citizens by considering their current nationality and passport instead of their country of origin.
She said to promote trade with Afghanistan, a sub-category has been included in the work visa category under which drivers, transporters, and helpers have been included in the online visa system. She said for a multiple entry visas, the six months period will be extendable to one year subject to approval by the Ministry of Interior.
The Minister said to promote trade and create ease of doing business in the country, Afghan workers and traders have been exempted from the Board of Investment’s recommendation letter and SECP registration requirements.
She said Nadra has been directed to make necessary changes in the online system in this regard and a cabinet sub-committee has also been formed for further ease of doing business.
She said visa regime review also includes relaxation of visa provision for Afghan patients.
He said more than 8000 homes will be constructed in three phases for which the federal government will collaborate with Adviser on Kashmir Affairs Qamar Zaman Kaira said the cabinet approved the release of funds for the construction of 1300 homes for Kashmiri refugees in the first phase.
He said more than 8000 homes will be constructed in three phases for which the federal government will collaborate with the Azad Kashmir government. He said these Kashmiri refugees migrated to Azad Jammu and Kashmir in Pakistan in 1989 fleeing brutal operations of Indian forces in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

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