ISLAMABAD: Lawmakers in the National Assembly on Wednesday stressed the need for giving a boost to the industrial and agricultural production, keeping in view the international market standards and requirements, to put the national economy on consistent path of development.
They were of the view that there should be focus on export-oriented production as the country had immense potential in industrial and agricultural sectors to get due share in world markets.
Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQMP) MNA Engineer Sabir Hussain Kaim Khani highlighted the importance of increasing the industrial and agricultural production and their export after value addition to build up the country’s foreign exchange reserves.
He said Pakistan should have signed agreements with potential countries to boost its exports instead of getting loans aimed at achieving sustainable economic growth.
He was of the view that there should be maximum presence of members of the federal cabinet in the House and officials of all ministries in the galleries to note budgetary proposals of the lawmakers for due consideration and incorporation in the final fiscal plan before its passage from the National Assembly.
He also urged members of both treasury and opposition benches to ensure their active participation in the budget debate as the people had given them mandate to discuss their issues in this august forum.
The lawmaker said there should be a productive debate that how a strategy could be devised to ensure provision of basic amenities of life to the public keeping in view limited available resources.
He said a number of countries had taken loan facilities from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other financial institutions and attained development, but it was unfortunate that in Pakistan the acquired loans could not be judiciously utilized for the national development and uplift of the common man. He suggested the government to adopt drastic austerity measures to save the precious energy and strengthen the national economy.
Chaudhry Muhammad Barjees Tahir of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) said that Pakistan was agrarian countries but facing food security challenges as the PTI government had badly ruined all the economic sectors of the country, leading to the increasing inflation.
He said the incumbent government had prepared the fiscal plan in consultation with its allies to lessen financial sufferings of the common man. He said Pakistan was among 10 top of wheat producing countries, eight rice producers, five grain and three dates producers, adding the country had also enormous minerals and hydrocarbon potential that needed to be exploited and utilized in a sensible way.
Barjees Tahir asked the government to take necessary measures for giving a boost to agriculture sector by extending maximum facilities in fertilizer sector, besides giving due attention to building up the much-needed water reservoirs.
He expressed confidence that the Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand dams would be completed during the next two years which would not only help in meeting the irrigation and electricity generation requirements of the country. “Only Gilgit-Baltistan has the potential of generating 50,000 megawatt hydro power.”
He said the previous government, during its almost three and an half years’ tenure, took around Rs30,000 billion but miserably failed to fulfill any promises made with the public including provision of millions of jobs and housing units. Rather, it brought around 70,000 people below the poverty line due to wrong economic policies, he added.
He vowed that the incumbent government would soon be able to steer the country of prevailing financial crisis with collective wisdom of its allies. Syed Mustafa Mehmud of Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) stressed the need for making appropriate measures for addressing climate change issues, which were posing serious threats, particularly to the agriculture sector. He also called for ensuring provision of clean drinking water facilities in rural areas as the use of unhygienic and contaminated water could lead to different diseases including hepatitis.
He said due to international challenges, inflation had gone up especially the Russia-Ukraine conflict that disrupted global supply chain of different commodities.
He asked for taking appropriate measures for controlling the inflation and bringing down the budget deficit that was possible increased exports.
He said restoring investors’ confidence in government’s economic policies, increasing savings and discouraging was imperative to achieve the targets sets in the budget.
Syed Mustafa also talked about providing level playing field to local as well as foreign investors, besides exploring other opportunities to promote trade and investment in the country. The lawmakers said encouraging local industrial sector, increasing their competitiveness by introducing innovations to compete in international markets, minimizing the government interventions in different sectors were the key elements in strengthening the national economy.
He asked for creating a environment of competition among private and public sector players for enhancing the efficiencies and service delivery particularly in the energy sector.
He was of the view that the improved fuel quality would in overcoming the confronted environmental challenges, adding that it was need of the time to promote electric vehicles to tackle both the energy and environment pollution issues.
He asked for exploiting the existing the renewable energy resources, particularly solar and appreciated the government for abolishing taxes on solar panels which would help meeting the needs of inexpensive electricity.
Noor Ul Hassan Tanvir of PML-N criticized the polices of PTI government and said that people had pined high hopes with collation government. He said that developmental work with Pakistan speed would help to address the grievances of the people across the country.
Overseas Pakistanis were playing an important role in economic development and social prosperity of the country, he said adding that government should provide special facilities to them.
He said government had imposed ban on the import of mobile phones, adding that the government should allow the expatriates to bring at least one cell phone, besides providing special incentives on their remittances.
He called upon the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis to explore job opportunities for skilled and sami-skilled workforce in other countries to reduce unemployment in the country.