FAISALABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said on Wednesday industrialisation was gaining momentum as the government overcame the problem of energy shortages.
Addressing members of the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI), Mr Abbasi said the government fulfilled its commitment to overcoming electricity and gas shortages and now its focus was on cutting the cost of doing business, particularly for the industrial sector.
Underlining the importance of industrialisation, he said the private sector must play its role for the establishment of new industrial units as the government ensured continuous supply of gas and electricity.
“We are now concentrating on making energy affordable for the industry,” he said, adding that its cost increased due to ill-conceived policies of previous governments.
He said the government would facilitate the private sector by providing it with best infrastructure in the shape of state-of-the-art industrial estates and motorways.
As for the construction of a new airport, the prime minister said he would ask the Punjab government to allocate land for it. He said industrialists should undertake the Expo Centre project as a commercial venture.
Appreciating Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif, the premier said Mr Sharif did excellent work for the uplift and development of the province, adding that other provinces should follow suit.
The prime minister said the government was trying to introduce a taxpayer-friendly culture in the Federal Board of Revenue.
He said Pakistan had huge export potential although exports were only $20 billion. “We must make collaborative efforts to increase our exports to $50-60bn per annum,” he said.
Commenting on the increased trade deficit, the prime minister said it was due to the import of machinery for power and other sectors.
Regarding the regulatory duty, he said the federal minister for commerce and textile was reviewing it. “We have to discourage imports of unnecessary luxury items,” he said.
The prime minister said the government was focusing on the improvement of small and medium enterprises, adding that a strategy was being devised to reorganise the power-loom sector on modern and scientific lines.
He asked the FCCI president to pinpoint problems and suggest viable solutions to help the government resolve the same.
Separately, speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony of a car assembly plant of Hyundai Nishat Motor Ltd at M-3 Industrial City, Mr Abbasi said the government would complete its constitutional term and the next general election would be held on time.
The premier said Pakistan was facing instability six years back, but the situation was far better now. Foreign investors are interested in making investments in Pakistan due to the sincere efforts of the PML-N government, he added.
Mr Abbasi said the government completed a number of mega projects, including power generation units, motorways and gas terminals.
The prime minister appreciated the role of the Nishat Group, saying the establishment of the plant would encourage other investors to come forward and play their role in national development.
Nishat Group Chairman Mian Muhammad Mansha, Millat Tractors Chairman Sikandar Mustafa, Punjab Governor Malik Muhammad Rafiq Rajwana, Minister for Commerce and Textiles Pervez Malik, State Minister for Power Chaudhry Abid Sher Ali, State Minister for Communication Muhammad Junaid Anwaar Chaudhry and State Minister for Interior Talal Badar Chaudhry were present on the occasion.
Published in Dawn, December 21st, 2017