FAISALABAD, Nov 18: Pakistan will replicate its industrial policy of 1960s when it was making appreciable growth which was acknowledged and copied by the other developing countries like Malaysia and South Korea, said Prime Minister Imran Khan.
He was addressing a meeting of businessmen and industrialists in Faisalabad here today. He said that when PTI government came into power in 2018, the economy was at the verge of collapse. Current account deficit was around 20 billion dollar while import and export deficit crossed the limit of 40 billion dollar. The previous government pumped in 15-20 billion dollars to maintain the parity of Pak rupee versus dollar through artificial ways. He said that the situation was so critical that they were forced to conceal the real facts as that might damage economy and further cut the value of Pak rupee.
About industrialization of 1960s, he said that Pakistan was growing at a much faster pace but the then Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto nationalized the industrial sector on the plea that wealth was accumulated in the hands of only 22 rich families. He said that instead of nationalization we should legislate and bound industrialists to spend surplus profit on the welfare of the poor.
He said that we must provide conducive industrial environment in which investors could create wealth and a portion of it could be used for the welfare of their workers and government could also pay back the foreign loans.
He quoted the example of China and said that it established industry and encouraged their investors to create wealth and later with this wealth 700 million poor were dragged out of the vicious circles of the poverty.
He said that earning profit should not be made a crime and instead of it investors must be encouraged to earn profit and share it with their workers.
Quoting sugar mafia, he said that Competition Commission of Pakistan has made it clear that sugar mills owners were involved in cartelization and thus they enhance price of the sugar which fomented inflation and created unrest among the masses.
Prime Minister said that government is making efforts to promote ease of doing business. He said that continuous process of reforms has been going in Federal Board of Revenue (FBR). We are introducing digitalization and automation to minimize direct contact between the taxpayers and tax collectors.
He said that his government has taken bold and tough steps but its results are visible in Faisalabad where industries are working with full capacity and many of them are facing shortage of labor.
He said that COVID was a tough time. All global economies were depreciating but in Pakistan our economy is growing as the government took in-time and prudent measures. Policy of smart lockdown not only saved people from starvation but also helped revive the economy on solid grounds.
He also appreciated the decisions of NCOC and also paid tributes to Federal Minister for Industries and Production Mr. Hammad Azhar and his team. They took in-time remedial measures by extending incentive package to the industrial sector and save jobs of millions of workers by arranging easy and cheap loans particularly for the SME sector.
He said that second wave of corona is in full swing and we must take necessary precautionary measures as it may enhance number of corona patients which will also have negative impact on the economy.
He quoted a proposal and asked Chief Minister Punjab to establish maximum institutes to create highly skilled manpower for the value added textile sector.
He said that CM will announce a separate development package for Faisalabad. He also supported the establishment of High Court bench in Faisalabad and said that his government is contemplating to introduce a new Local Body system. The people will elect their mayor with direct votes and he (mayor) will generate resources for its development by himself.
Earlier, Engineer Hafiz Ehtisham Javed President Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FCCI) welcomed the government policies and said that economy has put on the right track by taking tough but positive steps. He said that many industrial units are working with 100 percent capacity while some export units are planning to start third shift but they are facing shortage of workers.
He demanded a ministry for Faisalabad and said that local parliamentarians always projected their problems at the highest forum and helped them to resolve their genuine issues.
He also demanded to construct a road linking both motorways through Jaranwala and M-III industrial estate.
He said that Sitiana-Jhamra and Jaranwala Road should also be built on top priority basis.
Chief Minister (CM) Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar, Federal Minister for Industries and Production Mr. Hammad Azhar and Mr. Shahid Ahmad Sheikh Regional Chairman All Pakistan Textile Processing Mills Association (APTPMA) also addressed the meeting.
Governor Punjab Chaudhary Muhammad Sarwar, Provincial Ministers and Parliamentarians also attended this meeting in addition to the business community.