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Pakistan seeks investments, not loans | The Express Tribune

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ISLAMABAD:

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has appealed to friendly countries that Pakistan needs injection of essential investments in different projects, instead of loans that increase its debt burden, in order to rejuvenate a faltering economy.

Addressing cabinet members in a meeting last week, the Prime Minister appreciated the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC), observing that the forum was playing an effective role in enabling Pakistan to realize its growth potential , in particular by facilitating foreign investments in the country.

He told the cabinet that he had told friendly countries that Pakistan needed investments this time, but not loans. The Prime Minister stressed that the potential of the youth should be harnessed optimally by providing world-class training in income-generating skills.

He also called for promoting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) by instilling a culture of entrepreneurship, encouraging self-employment and supporting start-ups.

Pakistan is currently looking to the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait, as well as other countries, to boost investments in the mining, agriculture, industrial and energy sectors.

The Prime Minister said that by electing the present government, the people of Pakistan have regained confidence in their leaders and have high hopes that the government will provide relief and put the economy on the path of long-term and sustainable development. term.

He described the new government as a balanced combination of youth and experience, well placed to face multi-dimensional challenges and serve the nation.

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He recalled that the previous government led by him had also served the people with great commitment and its greatest achievement was to protect Pakistan from the looming threat of default, which was the real danger at the time it took office.

Roadmap for economic recovery

During the meeting, Prime Minister Shehbaz outlined his government’s roadmap to improve the quality of life of the people of Pakistan.

Taking stock of the problems plaguing the national economy, he shared his deep concern over challenges including increasing circular debt in the electricity and gas sectors as well as energy theft and losses amounting to billions of rupees.

It was added that state-owned power generation companies (Gencos) with poorly performing power plants were a huge liability to the government and that vested interests were stealing state resources to the detriment of the nation.

The chairman of the meeting also expressed concern over the performance of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and its rapidly accumulating debts, which exceed Rs 800 billion.

The Prime Minister said low revenue collection due to massive corruption in entities like the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and provision of subsidies to the elite rather than the poor were the main issues which would immediately attract the government’s attention.

He said that Pakistan was affected by climate change, of which recent floods caused by heavy rains in Balochistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Azad Jammu and Kashmir were one of the serious consequences, which not only caused loss of life and property, but also required significant casualties. financial resources for immediate relief and rehabilitation efforts.

Deep surgery

Prime Minister Shehbaz stressed that “deep surgery” and structural reforms were needed to bring the country out of the economic crisis and bring about pro-poor changes in the system.

“We must either succeed or perish because we are in a now or never situation,” he remarked, adding that he and his government were determined to eliminate vested interests that hamper Pakistan’s development.

The Prime Minister stressed that his government would never be deterred by the enormity of the challenges ahead in Pakistan’s path to progress and development, and that all allied parties would play their role to bring the country out of the current turmoil. , which is a difficult task. but certainly not an impossible task.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 21st2024.

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