LAHORE: All economic indicators are moving in the right direction and the situation will improve further in the coming months, said Finance Minister Ishaq Dar while talking to a delegation of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
He said that Pakistan has made a strong comeback and is now stronger after 2013.
“Foreign exchange reserves are at a record level, while Pakistan Stock Exchange is giving one of the best performances,” said Dar, adding that macroeconomic stability has caught the attention of investors around the globe.
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Responding to a question, he said that the Kalabagh and Bhasha dams cannot be built at the same time as the former has been politicised. He said that Bhasha dam would be constructed at any cost, as China is being asked to include Bhasha in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
He invited the LCCI to share their budget proposals, saying that the government always took them on board.
Speaking on the occasion, LCCI President Abdul Basit highlighted issues of refund claims, attachment of bank accounts, misuse of discretionary powers and disparity in energy prices between the provinces.
He said that the halal food sector should be given the zero-rated facility as the country has little share in international halal food trade of about $3 trillion. He said that difference in gas and electricity prices should be removed to provide a level playing field to the industries throughout the country. Basit also called for withdrawal of ban on new gas connections for the industry.
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Talking about Bhasha and Kalabagh, he said that both dams are essential for the national economy, adding that opponents of Kalabagh dam are actually safeguarding the Indian interests therefore they should not be given any weight. The energy mix of the country is very expensive due to lack of hydel power generation. This results in tariff hikes and makes the industry uncompetitive in the international market. He suggested that the Ministry of Finance use the international and domestic stock markets for generation of funds for Diamer-Bhasha and Kalabagh Dams. This would help the government to raise capital required for the construction of these mega dams. Once successful, this method can also be used for the construction of other energy projects.
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He demanded that new industrial zones should be developed around Lahore and in throughout Punjab for catering to the demands for establishing new industries.
courtesy : Express Tribune