LAHORE: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) Governor Haji Ghulam Ali on Tuesday supported the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI) demanding a Charter of Economy for exports promotion and economic wellbeing of the country.
He was talking to business community during his visit to LCCI here, he added that all segments of society including politicians and the business community should think beyond all kinds of political affiliations and play their active role for economic development of the country.
The KPK Governor said that collective approach had to be adopted to resolve the issues being faced by the business community, economy and the state. He said that when the state was weak, its foundations were shaken, citing that trade and industry were the main pillars of state. “We have to think about the development of economy, industry, elimination of unemployment and to control the inflation,” he maintained.
He said that all 54 chambers of commerce should stick to their demand of election boycott if the Charter of Economy was not signed.
He said that only the business community could bring the country out of economic difficulties.
The Governor said that KPK was enriched with vast mineral resources which would not be exhausted even in the next hundred years. He said that the business community should invest in the mineral sector of KPK, assuring that full support would be extended to the investors and a seminar would also be organized in this regard in Governor House of KPK.
“I have suggested that all the political parties should be persuaded to sit together and hold the election on the same day,” he said and added that it would cost only Rs. 50 billion instead of Rs. 200 billion.
He said that Punjab was a big brother, if there was any problem in Punjab, the backbone of the whole country would be broken. He cited that Turkey also got out of economic difficulties and achieve the goals of economic development.
In his welcome address, the LCCI President Mian Kashif Anwar demanded a Charter of Economy by all the political parties instead of elections. He said, “Our country is currently suffering from severe political instability which is having a direct impact on our economy. The conditions of our country require that a charter of economy should be signed without any delay and whichever political party comes to power, should fully implement this charter.”
He said that Pakistan could not afford inflation rate of 27 percent, asserting that economic problems had multiplied due to hike in dollar rate against Pak rupee. This situation, he said, was not only keeping the foreign direct investment away but also discouraging the local investors.
The LCCI President said that the foreign exchange reserves reached at the lowest level in the history because of which, the banks were not opening new LCs (Letters of Credit) while thousands of imported containers were stuck at the ports occurring demurrage and detention charges. He said that due to non-availability of raw materials, many industries had closed down their operations.
Kashif Anwar informed the Governor that Lahore Chamber had written a letter to the leaders of all the political parties to sign a Charter of Economy. The Lahore Chamber had also formulated some important proposals to fix the current economic conditions of the country and requested the heads of political parties to share their economic manifesto with them so to that they could help create a joint charter.
He said that there was no doubt that political stability was essential for economic stability, and Lahore Chamber was in constant liaison with all the chambers in Punjab and making all-out efforts for joint proposals for sustainable solution to the economic ills. “LCCI is also willing to have improved relations with the chambers of commerce in KPK province,” he added.
The LCCI President said that KPK had a lot of potential for tourism as most of the tourist destinations of Pakistan were located in KPK, and to exploit the potential of tourism, it was necessary to ensure hotels and other facilities for tourists.
He said that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was rich in mineral deposits and there was a lot of investment potential in the minerals and mining sector. He said that by using modern technology like blasting to extract marble and other minerals, not only waste of raw material could be avoided but it could also be manufactured according to international standards and could be sold at a better price.
The LCCI President suggested that the government of KPK should organize a special briefing session for the investors of Punjab to increase investment in the mineral and mining sector. He added that according to official statistics, worst floods and rains last year cost US $ 33 billion to the national economy while KPK suffered a loss of US $ 2.3 billion. He said that if new dams and reservoirs had been built in the country, the situation would have been much better. He said that it was necessary to build new dams and water reservoirs on a war footing. ‘Along with this, we also need to work on solar energy, which will provide cheap electricity from renewable resources and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.” He said that Pakistan imported US $ 23.3 billion worth of crude oil to meet its energy needs which adds to its trade deficit.
Kashif Anwar said that business community had always insisted on increasing the tax base by suggesting the government to immediately announce the Declaration Scheme so that the Undeclared Foreign Reserves could become part of our economy. He said that Pakistan had been playing its role in the war on terror very actively for a long time. “We have observed that due to this, many changes have taken place in the economic, social and political landscape of our country. I hope that this struggle will yield positive results soon and our country will get rid of many problems forever,” he maintained.
The LCCI President mentioned that smuggling of goods transported under Afghan Transit Trade to Pakistani markets were causing a great loss to local industries and the national exchequer as well which called for making further improvements in border management. Apart from this, the law enforcement agencies of both the provinces should ensure information and resource sharing. He said that Pakistan had also been facing security concerns for a long time due to which foreign buyers and investors did not visit Pakistan. There was an atmosphere of concern in the business community that a new wave of terrorism was starting. In recent days, there was a suicide blast in a mosque in Peshawar, in which many precious lives were lost and many injured were still undergoing treatment in hospitals.
Senior Vice President Zafar Mahmood Chaudhry and Vice President Adnan Khalid Butt also spoke on the occasion. LCCI Executive Committee members and former office-bearers were also present.
The participants also passed a resolution saying “we want economy, not elections”. Earlier, participants of the meeting offered fateh for the martyrs of earthquake in Turkey, Syria and blast in Peshawar incident. (APP)