President Zardari urges need to continue economic policies


President Asif Ali Zardari on Friday said that as part of the liberal investment policy regime‚ the government has embarked upon a policy of trade liberalization with India, granting it Most Favored Nation trading status to strengthen the economy.
He was addressing the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry Achievement Award Ceremony 2012.
The president emphasized the need for continuity of economic policies and called upon the city’s business community to take ownership of policies, as the absence of continuity of economic policies would hinder the country’s development. He said that it was the business community who should defend economic policies even if governments change.
Terming it a major policy shift, the president said that this shift was driven by business sectors on both sides of the border and expressed the hope that it will benefit everyone, besides contributing to the region’s economies and increasing stability.
“I am happy to say that last week I gave assent to a Bill that will do exactly the same”, the president said, expressing hope that it will ensure continuity of incentives given to entrepreneurs and added that no government will now be able to withdraw these incentives without parliamentary debate and discussion. Terming it a landmark development, he said that the government had achieved political consensus on a number of issues adding that it was high time that we worked for consensus of economic policies as well. Commenting on energy issues in the country, the president said that he was aware of problems posed by the lack of energy and termed it the mother of all economic problems.
He, however, said that the energy problem was also rooted in the reversal of the energy policy of the previous PPP government, adding that if that energy policy had not been reversed in mid nineties, perhaps there would have been no power crisis today.
He said that the government was conscious of the electricity problem and was making efforts to increase electricity production in the country besides diversifying sources of power generation as well.
He said that an increase in the production of electricity must also accompany a reduction in the price of electricity. He said that the government had undertaken mega hydro projects including the construction of Bhasha Dam and raising of the Mangla dam project, besides importing gas and electricity from other countries to address the energy problem.
Welcoming suggestions of businessmen, he said that the government had always been receptive to the ideas and suggestions of the business community.
The president applauded the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry for regularly holding Achievement Award ceremonies for the last eight years and said that such awards recognize excellent performance of entrepreneurs and motivate them to achieve even more.