PM Shehbaz gives 5-year economic roadmap to federal cabinet

Published March 30, 2024
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif addresses the federal cabinet on Saturday. — DawnNewsTV
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif addresses the federal cabinet on Saturday. — DawnNewsTV

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif urged his cabinet members to immediately commence work towards achieving the targets set in a five-year roadmap he shared with all the relevant ministries on Saturday.

Addressing a cabinet meeting, the prime minister said he shared broad parameters of the five-year plan with the relevant ministries and set various targets. He added these ministries must form strategies immediately to resolve the litany of issues plaguing the country.

“We have to come together and use the resources and tools at our disposal without wasting time,” PM Shehbaz said. “We will procure whatever tools we don’t have.”

Under the shared parameters, he said the ministries concerned should evolve mechanisms, hire human resources and formulate strategies to meet their targets within the five-year period.

He said that to overcome delays and red tape, a forum like the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) was available to hire consultants and experts. However, the premier maintained that the relevant rules must be adhered to.

Shehbaz said that a fully automated accountability mechanism would be implemented to ensure the relevant ministries meet their goals. “Responsibility, with authority and accountability, will be the hallmark of the five-year roadmap. No system in the world can progress without it,” he said.

“We will sit with ministers and see why no progress was made,” PM Shehbaz added. “Without accountability and proactive supervision, the dream of progress will always remain distant.”

The prime minister stressed using the country’s talented human resources to achieve the targets and urged the ministries to adopt innovative tools and thinking, besides reducing the backlog of work files.

“We have a five-year term to transform the economic situation of the country, but for that purpose, we have to commence our work immediately,” he emphasised.

To achieve self-sufficiency, the prime minister said that the cabinet had to reduce the burden of foreign debts, increase GDP, create jobs, develop agriculture and IT sectors, bring reforms in the energy sector and end smuggling and leakages in revenue collection.

He gave the example of using low-quality seeds in agriculture, saying, “If we use high-quality seeds, agriculture will thrive and the economy will thrive. If we don’t invest in the youth, then we cannot reap the benefits.”

He expressed confidence in his cabinet, saying that it was a combination of youth and experience. “New and old staff can bring about change if they work together.

“When the wheels of the economy move, the country will progress,” he added, further saying that the cabinet members must complete the required initiatives themselves to achieve economic stability. “We have to make this progress ourselves, IMF (International Monetary Fund) or no IMF.”

The prime minister said that a meeting was held on Friday to address leakages in revenue collection, where he instructed the interior ministry to produce a presentation on potential steps.

Shehbaz also appreciated the interim government for recovering Rs58 billion from the power sector, expressing his pride that such a target was achieved in the shortest period for the first time in the country’s history.

The prime minister said that underperforming judges would be sidelined, while “new judges of the highest calibre” would be brought in and well-compensated for their services.

He added that judges would be assessed through written tests, oral vivas and interviews by various universities. Shehbaz also said he would increase judges’ salaries to ensure that they performed at their best.

“I increased judiciary and police wages by 100 per cent when I was appointed chief minister in 2018,” he recalled. “If a good judge receives the minimum economic protection, he will do his best. It is a deal well done.”

Around Rs27bn remained inaccessible in appellate courts and for the expeditious disposal of these cases, the cabinet would bring competent judges with enhanced incentives, Shehbaz added.

He further said that Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa had also assured him of complete support during a recent meeting.

The prime minister noted that efforts must be made to reduce official expenditures. “We must get out of this monotonous and archaic system,” he said, adding that achieving a $25bn IT export target was not unfeasible.

“If we get near it (the $25bn target) it will be a great achievement. However, we need infrastructure and need to bring in human resources for fields, including cybersecurity and invite international business transactions.”

The prime minister also assured that the cabinet would provide all available resources to the military, to ensure that their “minimum requirement as a deterrent” is maintained.

PM Shehbaz reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to investigating the terrorist attack in Bisham on March 26, which claimed the lives of five Chinese nationals and one Pakistani.

“Surely those behind the attack are Pakistan’s enemies who do not want our friendship with China, which is moving forward and growing stronger in different fields, to improve,” Shehbaz said. “The whole of Pakistan stands with China at this time.

“I met the Chinese premier with the president recently at the Chinese Embassy and assured them that we will investigate the incident,” he added. “The 20 suspects we found will be made an example of.”

“We will not sit quietly until terrorism is eliminated,” the premier vowed.

Follow Dawn Business on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook for insights on business, finance and tech from Pakistan and across the world.

Opinion

Editorial

China’s concerns
23 Jun, 2024

China’s concerns

Pakistan has no option but to neutralise militant threat to Chinese projects, as well as address its business and political stability concerns.
War drums
23 Jun, 2024

War drums

If it is foolish enough to launch another war in Lebanon, Tel Aviv will be solely responsible for setting the Middle East on fire.
Balochistan budget
23 Jun, 2024

Balochistan budget

BALOCHISTAN’S Rs955.6bn budget for the fiscal year 2024-25 makes many pledges to the poor citizens of Pakistan’s...
Another lynching
Updated 22 Jun, 2024

Another lynching

The chilling alternative to not doing anything — which appears to be the state’s preferred option — is the advent of mob rule.
Tax & representation
22 Jun, 2024

Tax & representation

THE taxation measures outlined in the budget for the incoming fiscal year have triggered a lot of concern among ...
Life of the party?
22 Jun, 2024

Life of the party?

THE launch of Awaam Pakistan, a party led by former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and former finance minister...