PM performs ground-breaking of US 100mln automobile plant

F.P. Report
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Friday performed the ground-breaking of a US 100 million dollars automobile manufacturing and assembly unit, that besides the regular models would also produce electric vehicles.
As investment from China, the MG Motors company will start local production in Pakistan by mid 2021 Motors and in first phase will launch three SUVs, the MG-HS, MG-ZS 1.5 and MG ZS EV, a fully electric vehicle.
Addressing a ceremony here, the Prime Minister said China was Pakistan’s biggest ally in industrialisation and was supporting the country in achieving its goals of economic prosperity through industrial development.
He said Pakistan could learn a great deal from China, as its economic model best suited the country. He said China developed its industry, created economic trade zones and attracted foreign investment to generate wealth, which it ultimately spent on poverty alleviation.
The Prime Minister said China brought 700 million of its population out of poverty in around 35 years, which had no other example in the world. He said Pakistan was also pursuing a similar vision, in which the real development was the uplift of poor.
Imran Khan said it was his desire that the Chinese industry re-located to Pakistan, from where the products could further be exported. He regretted that over the past fifty years, Pakistan could not manage to increase its exports and the present government was now in consultation with the Chinese government on ways to enhance exports.
He said Pakistan was also working with China in agriculture, particularly seed development and productivity increase, and mentioned that in the next phase of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), agriculture sector would figure prominently.
Referring to the contract for manufacturing of MG vehicles in Pakistan, the Prime Minister said the ripple effects of foreign direct investment would reach out to the connected industries, and generate employment. He said Pakistan would continue to carry out joint ventures with Chinese companies in future in all areas.
Khan said the government had to focus its entire energy in recovering the national economy in its first year of power, while in the second year the government had to face the challenge of Covid19 pandemic. However, he said, the way the government navigated through this challenge was duly acknowledged by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
He said 2021 would be the year of economic growth, wherein Pakistan would flourish while benefiting from its experiences in confronting various challenges. He said the construction and textile industries in the country were booming, despite the negative impact caused by the pandemic. He said Pakistan was the only country in the sub-continent that recovered rapidly from the impact of coronavirus.
He said the new year would witness business-friendly policies and incentives for industries for wealth creation and ending of poverty. He said two of his major targets were universal health coverage, for providing health insurance to each and every household – something which even the United States of America cannot provide. The second target was to identify through the use of Information Technology the impoverished areas and with the help of Ehsaas program and NGOs, the government would ensure that there was no person faced any hunger or food insecurity. The Prime Minister also appreciated the efforts of Dr Sania Nishtar for her efforts in this regard.
The Prime Minister specifically appreciated the efforts of industrialists Faisal Afridi and Javed Afridi for bringing in the third investment project with the Chinese entrepreneurs in Pakistan.
Hammad Azhar, Minister for Industries and Production said despite the problems faced due to COVID-19 pandemic, Pakistan experienced positive trends in economic growth due to industrial activity.
He said the current account was in surplus after 17 years and the federal government had successfully curtailed its expenditures. He said there had been a 100 percent increase in the refunds, as compared to the previous year. He mentioned the industrial relief package on electricity, setting up of mobile manufacturing plant and new incentives for automobile industry as the few key factors that would contribute to a stronger economy.
Chinese ambassador Nong Rong said his country would boost investment in Pakistan.
He said the CPEC would be a great game changer and lead to extensive economic activity and create employment opportunities in diverse areas.