LAHORE, May 29: A five-year development plan for Punjab will be prepared and all future budgets of the province will be prepared in line with it.

“Within days after the chief minister takes oath of the office, Punjab governance and development conference will be arranged to finalise long-term policies in consultation with all stakeholders,” PML-N central leader Ahsan Iqbal told members of the Lahore Economic Journalists Association (LEJA) at a meeting at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Wednesday.

A strategy has been evolved to control the energy crisis as well as to bring down its generation cost. The focus would be to utilise indigenous resources for power generation. “Cheap energy can only be produced by utilising coal, hydel and natural gas and tapping solar power. The PML-N believes that provision of uninterrupted power supply at affordable prices is prerequisite to industrial and agricultural growth of the country,” he said.

Mr Iqbal said the PML-N wanted to make Punjab a model economy among the federating units. Like the previous term, the Punjab government would continue its zero tolerance for corruption policy for the next five years. A similar policy would also be implemented at federal and Balochistan level.

The PML-N would extend every possible support to the governments of Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. “It is time to compete on the basis of performance and not on sits-in and strikes,” he said.

The former deputy chairman of planning commission said the loss-making state-owned enterprises would also be restructured with the objective to end financial haemorrhaging worth Rs450 billion annually to the national exchequer. As a first step, new chief executive officers of Pakistan Steel, PIA, Pakistan Railways and National Shipping Corporation and other such enterprises would be appointed through a transparent manner.

“Applications for these posts will be invited soon after the new federal government takes oath. Through a transparent manner, competent persons will be appointed with the task to end the losses to the public-sector enterprises and make them self-reliant,” said Mr Iqbal.

The incoming government would start its journey with unprecedented energy crisis, financial constraints, poor law and order and bad governance. “However, the PML-N is committed to making every possible effort to mitigate the sufferings of the masses. Overcoming energy crisis atop our priorities and short- and long-term measures will be taken in this regard. But it will be illogical to give any deadline or date to end loadshedding. This may lead to media trial of our government,” said Iqbal in a lighter vein.

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