PM says ‘striving for level-playing field for all businessmen’

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Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has reiterated his commitment to restoring peace and security to the satisfaction of every citizen and attracting foreign investment in the country, especially in Karachi.

“Maintaining better law and order in the country, especially in Karachi, is vital for the country’s economic prosperity and development,” the prime minister said while addressing Exports Trophy Awards ceremony hosted by Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) on Friday.

He regretted that foreign businessmen hesitated to visit Pakistan, particularly Karachi, however, he appreciated the high spirits of the business community who were working hard for the prosperity and development of the country. “We are trying our best to provide a level-playing field to the business community in Karachi,” the PM said.

Sharif said Karachi was heart of the country and after taking over as the prime minister, he had initiated interaction with all stakeholders including the main political parties and the business community.

He said this resulted in a consensus that a well-planned and across-the-board operation was unavoidable to purge the city of crimes mainly terrorism and kidnapping for ransom. He expressed satisfaction that the operation was going in the right direction.

However, he said the federal and Sindh governments still had a lot to do on this account to achieve the desired results. Every individual should play his role for the peace, prosperity and development of the country, he added. He said: “We are here today to discuss the law and order situation”.

Prime Minister Sharif said the country was facing many social and economic challenges that would be resolved through joint efforts, hard work and commitment. He said as a result of his government’s initiatives and remedial steps, load-shedding of electricity had visibly reduced in the country. After paying the amount of circular debt, the power supply was improving and 1400 MW electricity had been added to the national grid, he said. The premier said more electricity would be added into the system with execution of various small power projects in the country.

Sharif said he had already inaugurated the construction work of two nuclear power plants of 2200 MW here at the coastal belt. Three more such projects of 1100 MW each were in pipeline, he added.

At Port Qasim, two coal-fired power plants of 600 MW each were being set up, he said, adding work on 10 power projects at Gadani would start soon. He said China had decided to set up 10 coal-fired power plants in Thar and these would be mine-mouth projects.

Sharif sought the cooperation and support of the Sindh government in overcoming energy crisis in the country. “We are working on 25-year energy plan for the country,” he said. “In last 65 years of the country’s history, only 17,000MW power plants were placed in whereas we have planned to add 21,000MW electricity to the national gird in next eight years.”

He said his government was taking aggressive steps to revive and strengthen the public sector organisations, which were operating in loss, like Pakistan International Airlines (PIA). He said the government had the resolve that PIA would not only be transformed into a profitable organisation but also made one of the best airlines in the world. This would be ensured by inducting more aircraft to its fleet and ensuring best service to the passengers, he added.

He said PIA had a competent staff, however, it needed to be exploited properly. For this purpose, he said, very honest and competent person Captain Adeem had been appointed as its head. “We want to run PIA on international standards,” he said.

The prime minister said that work on Lahore-Karachi Motorway would start soon. He would also convene a meeting of the Economic Advisory Council to discus the issues being faced by them and try to find their solution, he added.

“My desire is that all your issues are resolved at the earliest. You won’t have to wait much for the relief,” he remarked.

The prime minister said he wanted the Economic Advisory Council to meet every three months so that it could deliver and prove to be an efficient platform for resolving the trade and industry problems.

He said his government had been trying to formulate practical, sustainable and result-oriented policies to ensure economic prosperity and development in the country.

Earlier, the prime minister distributed trophies and medals among the winners of KCCI Exports Trophy Awards and launched the 11th ‘My Karachi’ international trade exhibition to be hosted by KCCI in June.