Islamabad: Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal has said the government assigns highest priority to economic development‚ as only a stronger economy can ensure our security and overcome challenges.
Addressing a seminar organized by Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA) in Islamabad Wednesday‚ he said international community has expressed their overwhelming confidence to the government’s economic initiatives.
He stressed to maintain seven to eight percent growth rate‚ Pakistan must need to upgrade its infrastructure.
He said if today Pakistan generates 20‚000 megawatts electricity‚ still it is not capable of distributing and transmitting it to consumers.
He said development paradigm of global economy has changed and if we have to survive‚ we need to adopt better‚ faster and cheaper development cycle on continuous basis in all fields.
Recalling economic growth of the country in 90s‚ he said Pakistan was the first country which introduced new development initiatives including modern fiber optics and telecommunication system‚ constructed motorways and new ports in South Asia.
Ahsan Iqbal said unfortunately politico-economic instability of the country did not allow us to sustain these policies. He said other countries in South Asia including India and Bangladesh have derived dividends by adopting these initiatives on long-term basis.
Ahsan Iqbal said unfortunately from our revenues‚ we barely pay our debts and meet the defence requirements. He regretted that Pakistan borrows for its development projects and meeting administrative expenditures.
He said similarly the initiative of connecting three-billion population of west‚ south and central Asia through economic corridor between Kashgar and Gwadar will prove as real game changers for the region.
Planning Minister said Karakoram Highway will be the center point of future development in South Asia and by introducing smart bridging technology‚ we can decrease the distance up to 100 Kilometres and increase travelling speed.
He said similarly Mangla-Mirpur-Muzaffarabad Expressway will open the potential of Azad Kashmir.