MULTAN: President Asif Ali Zardari on Sunday said that he will advise the government to set up a separate Seraiki bank and asked businessmen and entrepreneurs from south Punjab to submit a formal proposal for it within a week.
During a meeting with businessmen from south Punjab at the Prime Minister House here, the president said the Seraiki bank will address the financial issues of south Punjab businessmen.
He said the banks in the past have been manipulated for political ends and the government aimed at ensuring a financial system that could not be manipulated against political opponents.
Spokesperson to the President, Senator Farhatullah Babar said that while discussing the economy and overall economic situation, the president said that the war on terror and natural calamities had adversely impacted the country's economy.
He said that he has been actively pleading with the international community for having more trade opportunities.
The president said that the government was aware that power shortage was among the major issues faced by the business community and industrialists.
He said the government was making all efforts to overcome the power crisis by exploring all possible avenues.
The president reiterated his call to the business community to assist the government in rationalising and broadening the tax net to provide relief to the small businessmen and traders and simultaneously to strengthen the economy.
The president said the imprudent reversal of the policies initiated by Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto was a major factor for the present day crisis.
The business community not only needs to assist the government in policy formulation process but should also own the economic policies for ensuring their continuity, he said.
He said south Punjab has great potential for the export of fruits and the government was making all efforts to facilitate the growers and exporters of fruits especially of mangoes.
He said the government has also planned to establish Mango Pack House and cold storage common facility centres in Multan.
The president said that limited job opportunities in the area and poverty were the main factors that provided militants and extremists an opportunity to mislead the youth and misuse their talent for their nefarious objectives.
He said in order to honour the aspirations of the people of south Punjab for having their own province, the prime minister has been asked to start consultations with all the political parties for making a separate Seraiki province.