Islamabad: Improving the economy is high priority of the government and it is determined to join hands with private sector and make it a partner in the economic development of the country.
This was said by Khurram Dastgir Khan, Federal Minister for Commerce while addressing business community at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
He termed energy shortage and extremism as the two biggest challenges of Pakistan and said that government is committed to overcome these challenges in cooperation with all stakeholders including businessmen and the civil society.
He said role of entrepreneurs is crucial to improve trade, exports, tax revenue & jobs and government is focused on providing cheap and affordable electricity to business and industry. For this purpose, government has decided to shift all furnace oil based power plants to coal.
Khurram Dastagir said electricity generated through furnace oil costs Rs.18-22 per unit while coal based power generation would cost just Rs.8-10 and added that all new power plants will be coal based.
He said that after converting power plants to coal, government would provide relief to the people. He said Pakistan has a lot of potential to grow fast, but there is a dire need to enhance the capacity of public and private sectors to turn opportunities into realities and deliver better services to the common man.
He said EU has granted GSP Plus to Pakistan for 10 years and private sector should gear up to improve quality of products for realizing full benefits of this concession.
He said that for growth, investment and employment, government has to open the economy and private sector should become proactive to meet international standards & better marketing of products to compete effectively.
He said businessmen should identify hurdles in the way of value addition of products and share with government to address problems. He urged businessmen to explore Saudi Arabia and UK, which offer good potential for improving trade and exports.
He said businessmen should come up with creative solutions for improving tax revenue. He assured that government would provide infrastructure and play the role of facilitator while entrepreneurs have to take the lead to improve trade & exports and the economy.
In his welcome Address, Shaban Khalid, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry termed the grant of GSP Plus, rupee appreciation, successful launch of Euro bonds and auction of 3G/4G licenses as good achievements of the current government and hoped that more such positive initiatives would create a new sense of confidence in the business community.
He said initiatives for long-term energy solutions and enhancing regional trade are encouraging.
He said government should facilitate in setting up an industrial estate for Islamabad along motorway which will help in promoting employment & tax revenue in this region and contribute to improving trade and exports with China, Afghanistan and Central Asian countries.
He stressed for improving transport sector by improving railways and modernizing trucking industry which will save 30 to 40% fuel expense and bring down transport cost.
He said SMEs are engine of growth for economy, but due to government borrowing from commercial banks, SMEs are crowded out and their running finance requirements cannot be met.
He said government should reduce import duties on agriculture technology & machinery to promote the trade and exports of value added agro products. Representatives of industry and markets also highlighted various issues and sought the government attention to redress the same.
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