Govt taking steps for sustained economic growth: Khurram

Karachi: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government is taking all-out steps to ensure sustained and inclusive economic growth based on justice and equality, said Federal Minister for Commerce, Engr. Khurram Dastagir Khan.

Speaking on the Prime Minister’s Vision-2025 during an interactive session with representatives of joint business councils/associations of Pakistan and various other countries here on last evening, he said the government has planned to set up first Land Ports Authority for establishing land ports near Wahga and Tourkham borders. Opening of border with India at another point, most likely Monna-Bao, is also under consideration as the government believes in enhancing regional trade and economic liberalization, he said.

Dastagir said that the vision-2025 is to focus on very talented people especially the youth of Pakistan. Our vision is ‘ People First’ and we try to create opportunities for all Pakistanis. The vision-2025 will prove as an agent of social and economic change in the country, he said.

The minister said the energy crisis and extremism are the two main barriers on the way of executing the vision-2025. However, he said, our democracy is fighting terrorism as after terrorist attack on the school in Peshawar it has become a more serious challenge.

He appealed the people to support the elected government in fighting this menace because it has very bad effect on the economy and development of the country.

The PML-led government is also taking practical short, medium and long term measures for overcoming the energy crisis at the earliest. The government’s energy plan includes coal-based power generation and different energy mix.

First liquified natural gas (LNG) terminal at Port Qasim will be operational in April 2015 and then work on second LNG terminal will be started, he informed.

Engr. Khurram said Prime Minister Mohammad Nawaz Sharif and his team are also focusing on trade, investment and connectivity.

He said the government believes in exports-led economic growth and the target is 20 per cent annual growth in exports.  He said the government in cooperation with other stakeholders will try its best to cut the cost of doing business. He said the government also gives great importance to regional cooperation for strengthening economy and for development.  He urged for collective wisdom and efforts for growing Pakistan.

To a question, he said that for increasing regional trade the government will sign TIR conventions. The summery in this regard has been submitted for the Cabinet’s approval. He said the government has initiated for second free trade agreement (FTA-II) with China which will be negotiated thoroughly independently from the first FTA. The FTA-II would carry better terms and conditions for Pakistan. Chinese are agreed that Chinese concessions under FTA-II would be broader than those from Pakistan, he said.

He assured that the issue of smuggling of goods mainly agricultural products from Iran will be raised with Iranian authorities as this seriously affects the growers of Pakistan especially of Balochistan.

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