Economy is our foremost priority: PM

October 11, 2019

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan is chairing meeting of his economic team on Thursday.—PPI
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan is chairing meeting of his economic team on Thursday.—PPI

ISLAMABAD: The government’s foremost priority is to run the economic system on sustainable basis which would help create job opportunities, enhance investors’ confidence and promote local industry, Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Thursday.

He expressed these views while chairing a meeting of the government’s economic team. Promotion of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), revival of sick industrial units and incentives to the construction sector were discussed in detail.

Regarding the revival of sick industrial units, the prime minister was informed that a total of 687 such facilities were in such a state which could immediately be revived through public-private partnerships.

The prime minister directed that the process of legislation and administrative reforms required for the revival of sick units should be finalised within 60 days under a comprehensive planning.

Regarding the promotion of SMEs, the meeting was apprised of the challenges and problems including investment, lack of modern technology, shortage of skilled manpower, legislative issues, reforms in Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (Smeda) and lack of research.

In this respect, the prime minister said the private sector should be involved in the promotion of SMEs and ease of doing business should be ensured so that investors could work in the area without any problem and hesitation.

Priority should be given to small industrial units at local level to create job opportunities, he added.

The prime minister directed for a complete plan of action which should include time-bound targets for the promotion of SMEs.

Regarding the provision of incentives to the construction sector, the meeting was informed that tax incentives would soon be offered to the relevant industries in the sector.

About the sales tax for steel and cement industries, the prime minister directed Adviser on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh to finalise a strategy in coordination with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), Naya Pakistan Housing Authority and provincial governments, and present a report in that respect by the next week.

The prime minister stressed for regular meetings with the economic team so that enhanced inter-ministerial coordination is ensured.

Federal ministers including Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar, Umar Ayub, Hamad Azhar and Muhammad Mian Soomro were in attendance. Advisers including Abdul Razak Dawood, Dr Ishrat Hussain and FBR Chairman Shabbar Zaidi were also present in the meeting along with Board of Investment and National Disaster Management Authority chairmen and officers.

Published in Dawn, October 11th, 2019