LAHORE: Chief Minister Shahbaz Shairf inaugurated the three-day shopping exhibition at the Expo Centre here on Friday. The event is a part of the ongoing Lahore Shopping Festival (LSF).
Officials of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Indonesian ambassador, representatives of national and international companies/firms and stall holders attended the opening ceremony.
The exhibition attracted a good number of visitors for shopping on the inaugural day.
Various manufacturing concerns and importers displayed their goods and articles, such as motorcycles, cosmetics, carpets, clothes, jewellery, dairy products, pharmaceuticals, home appliances, books, tracking devices, fashion and furniture items and other accessories.
“It is really an amazing exhibition. I can find almost everything except planes and boats here,” Muhammad Saleem, a visitor, told Dawn.
When asked about prices, he said there were many companies selling their products on cheaper rates as compared to open market.
Another visitor, Ms Shakeela, called the exhibition a good commercial activity that was providing great opportunity to the Lahorites to shop various things on affordable prices. She urged the government and private companies to continue holding such events in future but on a regular basis.
Salman Sikandar, marketing manager of the Pakistan Business Express, the express train being run by the private sector in collaboration with Pakistan Railways, said such exhibitions always helped public and private sector market their products on a large scale.
“Many people are turning up here and witnessing products of huge variety. The exhibition will definitely leave a positive impact on their minds,” Sikandar said.
A number of sales girls were seen guiding visitors and potential customers at different stalls set up by various firms/companies.
Earlier, Mr Sharif visited various stalls. Speaking there, the provincial chief executive urged the private sector to come forward and join hands with the government in overcoming energy shortage.
“The Punjab government will not only financially support energy-related projects but will also extend maximum administrative cooperation,” he added.
The chief minister said the Punjab government would evolve a strategy to overcome the power crisis in consultation with major chambers of commerce and industry and such a consultation would take place on Saturday (today).
He said despite the worst loadshedding of power and gas, the business community was playing a vital role in strengthening the economy and providing employment opportunities to scores of people.
“We will take the business community on board while preparing a strategy to initiate power projects in various areas of the province. Primarily, a plan will be worked out to ensure the provision of uninterrupted electricity to the industrial sector, enabling it to continue production without any let or hindrance,” he added.
About trade with India, the chief minister said both Pakistan and India would be sole beneficiary of it. It would not only bring business communities of both the neighbouring countries closer to each other but would also help mitigate poverty and generate new employment opportunities.
In his address of welcome, LCCI President Irfan Qaiser Sheikh identified reasons behind economic downfall and said that the private sector was not being allowed to play its role in policymaking. It should be taken on board before making economic policy decisions both at the provincial as well as at the federal level, he added.
Mr Sheikh said it was not only the energy shortage that had taken hostage the entire economic activity but anti-business policies had also caused considerable damage to the economy.
He said the LCCI was making all-out efforts to help government enhance economic activity. He thanked the Punjab government for its cooperation in making the LSF a success. He said participation of international businessmen in this event from countries like Indonesia, India, Jordan and Czech Republic was highly commendable.
“Their participation has made it a sort of international event. We keenly look forward to marketing this expo all over Asia from next year to add more to its value and flavour,” he added.
LCCI senior vice-president Kashif Younis Meher, vice-president Saeeda Nazar also spoke while LSF Committee convener Sheikh Mohammad Arshad, MNA Pervaiz Malik, Adviser to Chief Minister Mohammad Ali Mian and Indonesian Ambassador Ishak Latuconsina were also present.