Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed satisfaction with Punjab Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar ‘s performance on Saturday, in the midst of speculations and unverified government replacement reports. The Premier met Saturday with the Punjab CM, and the two discussed implementing a smart lockdown strategy in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
He praised the steps taken by the Punjab Government to curb the epidemic and public health efforts. The meeting came in the backdrop of government officials casting off news of Buzdar ‘s removal based on performance “below par.” After personally spearheading Pakistan ‘s flagship affordable housing program Tehreek-e-Insaf, Prime Minister Imran Khan said he had come to know how poorly Pakistan’s “chokes growth” mechanism is. He said the building of 5 million affordable houses for the low-income groups was the flagship initiative of his government and Naya Pakistan Housing. Authority was established to accelerate it.
The comments by the premier came at the Quaid-e – Azam Business Park’s groundbreaking ceremony. The park is spread over 1,536 acres of land and is located in Sheikhupura, on the Lahore-Islamabad motorway. According to Punjab Industrial Estates Development and Management Company (PIEDMC) it comprises 12 separate industrial zones.
Speaking to the gathering, PM Imran regretted how, under such a “degenerated” system, the government that is supposed to facilitate the private sector becomes an obstacle in the way. “There are obstacles they put up where it is absolutely unnecessary. This thinking that we should not let anyone easily get anything is embedded in the system.
He said the system is such that anybody who has money to spend on bribery is rewarded. The Premier lamented how the obstacles embedded in the unnecessarily red tape-oriented procedures of the country are such that small and medium-sized enterprises kill any initiatives before they can be born. “Our small and medium-sized businesses are our cornerstone.
The processes are so complicated for them that their whole effort is destroyed by the average guy, who runs on tiny margins.” The Prime Minister said he had seen first-hand how, as he travels abroad, a typical labourer sees substantial development over a period of a few years. “They succeed there because the structure makes it. “What’s the US dream? The American dream ensures you can do everything you dream of.
Their program pays for hard work. Our system has degenerated to a point where nothing is more than a hurdle. For the first time, PM Imran has said Pakistan should see such hurdles overcome in the building and housing sectors. “Formerly, there was something standing in the way at every juncture, be it the FBR or something else.”And this is the best move our government has created to give our private companies, entrepreneurs, industrialists the opportunity to shine and we will encourage them.
He vowed the government will continue its battle against this deeply entrenched system.
“This Business Park in Quaid-e – Azam is an excellent opportunity for Pakistan right now.”
About his trips to China, he said several companies expressed an interest in working in Pakistan every time he went there, but argued that the procedures needed to be streamlined. He said a contrast was then made with other countries and it was discovered that procedures in Vietnam and Bangladesh are much much easier and businesses are relocating there.
The Premier said that now, with the one-window operation in the business park, foreign firms will seek to invest in the industrial zones there. He assured the Punjab government of the willingness of the federal government to provide any assistance required, and told Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar to contact Industry and Production Minister Hammad Azhar if necessary. The PM said no country in the world will hope to prosper or thrive without industrialization, and promised that the government will completely encourage small and medium-sized companies, businesses, and industrialists with business-friendly initiatives.
The country had led the region in terms of industrialization during the 1960s but later lagged behind due to some short-term policies, he added. Referring to Singapore, he said it had a per capita gdp of $50,000. There was planning for those countries but we lacked it. Countries such as Malaysia and Korea benefited and excelled from the industrialization programs but Pakistan lagged behind. “Our sole emphasis was on winning elections and preparing for the short term. I firmly believe that our nation has huge potential in the region as a whole, “he added.
The PM appreciated the punjab government’s business-friendly steps. He appreciated the Punjab chief minister for the park site with Faisalabad and Lahore as the two major business hubs, and assured him that all their issues would be resolved by the federal government.
Earlier, Punjab CM Sardar Usman Buzdar, speaking on the occasion, said about 5,000 people would get jobs from the initiative. He said the provincial government provided Rs56 billion tax relief owing to coronavirus. Other business-friendly initiatives were taken and Rs12 billion was given to youth to start their businesses, he added.
The pipeline contained numerous infrastructure schemes including the Khanki and Thal canals, he added. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan said 250,000 Pakistanis have returned home so far due to the coronavirus pandemic, despite global air travel disruptions. He said his government’s promise to bring back stranded Pakistanis and overseas workers was fulfilled.
“We’ve fulfilled our pledge to carry back stranded Pakistanis and our overseas staff, following major delays in global air transport. Twenty-five thousand Pakistanis were carried home from all over the country, “Imran said in a tweet Saturday. He said his administration will continue to help Pakistanis overseas in any way possible