KARACHI - Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Saturday said the objectives of the government were economic growth, creation of jobs and increase in tax collection.

During a meeting with leading businessmen, including members and office bearers of KCCI, FPCCI and Pakistan Business Council at Governor House, he said the objectives of the government and those of the business community were the same. If the business community did not grow, the government would not be able to achieve its objectives, he added.

The prime minister assured the business community that their proposals for economic growth and increase in investment would be honoured, the need was to work in unison for achievement of the shared objectives, he stressed.

The prime minister said there was convergence of interests between the government and the business community as both were determined for economic growth and improvement in business atmosphere in the country. If the economy was not strong, the country would not grow, he noted.

He said there was much potential in the economic and trade sectors and stressed upon the coordinated efforts to tap this potential for progress and prosperity of the country. Collectively, the prime minister said, they would resolve the issues confronting them.

He said in the wake of smooth transition, the Cabinet took oath and the government started functioning immediately, which was good for democracy and has renewed confidence of the business community. PM Abbasi said that the PML-N government would carry forward the policies made under the leadership of Nawaz Sharif.

The prime minister said the PML-N government after evolving consensus among all the stakeholders, and due to the unmatched sacrifices of the law enforcement and security agencies has restored peace and glory of the financial hub of the country. "We will ensure to consolidate the gains on the security front and ensure that economic and trade activities further grow," he added.

While appreciating the candid views of the business leaders, PM Abbasi said the government wanted to facilitate the business community further. On development, he said the PML-N government has disbursed record amount from the federal divisible pool for generation of economic activities and creation of job opportunities.

In 2013, there was fear of default in the country but the PML-N government created the fiscal space and achieved economic turnaround, he added. He said the next step was to translate CPEC and other mega projects into growth.

Regarding security challenges, he said, they had always evolved consensus among all the stakeholders to address these challenges, and would continue to do so. He announced that he would be holding frequent interactions with them in the coming days to seek their valuable proposals and suggestions in this regard. The prime minister said that he was extremely happy and thankful to be among the business community in his first visit to Karachi.

Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal said the security policy initiated under the leadership of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif would be pursued with full vigour. The security gains would be further consolidated, he added.

The members of the business community congratulated the prime minister on assuming his office and thanked him for the meeting on his first maiden visit to Karachi. The business leaders lauded the gains in the security situation and improvement in macro-economic outlook of the country.

The businessmen individually shared their views regarding the economic challenges ahead. They apprised the prime minister of issues faced by them regarding increase in imports, cost of doing business, trade and tariff, and taxation.

Sindh Governor Muhammad Zubair, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) governor and FBR chairman were also present during the meeting.