President Asif Ali Zardari has called for political consensus on economic policies and their continuity to ensure sustainable development of the country.
He was addressing members of the Overseas Investors' Chamber of Commerce and Industries in Islamabad Thursday.
The President asked the business community to highlight sector-specific problems and their solutions and make the Government and politicians to forge consensus on them.
He said there should be at least consensus for the next ten years to realize the objective of economic development and prosperity.
President Zardari also asked businessmen to organize an All Parties Conference on economic issues and he would himself attend such a moot.
The President said that when the present government took the reins of power in 2008‚ the economic condition of the country was deplorable. He said that stock business had greatly plummeted while foreign exchange reserves had fallen to the level of just four billion dollars. Besides‚ terrorism had greatly affected the law and order situation in the country.
He said that the government took a number of steps to improve the country's economic condition and increase resources of the provinces. He said that although resources of the provinces have now increased but they are yet to shoulder their responsibilities in economic development.
The President said Pakistan has the potential to grow and develop and we have to tap this potential before asking our friends to help the country. He‚ however‚ pointed out that the international community ought to help Pakistan as it is fighting a war that was left behind in Afghanistan by the world community.
He pointed out that grant of GSP plus to Pakistan by the European Union is an important step but the country needs more cooperation from the international community to overcome its economic challenges.
The President said the strength of a country lies in human resource and economic capability and examples of Singapore and many other Asian countries are before us.
He said the job of the Government is not to do business. It is for the Government to create the enabling environment and it is for businessmen to do business.
Earlier‚ in his speech‚ President of the Chamber Asif Jooma said the member companies of the Chamber re- invested one billion dollar out of their profit last year in Pakistan which reflects their confidence in the policies of the Government and strength of the country.
He‚ however‚ called for forging consensus on policies‚ their continuity‚ reduction of taxes and overcoming the challenge of law and order to promote business and industry.
He pointed out that the documented sector is overburdened by taxes which should be lowered.
He also proposed establishment of a composite Ministry of Energy so that Petroleum and Water and Power sectors may work in unison.
Mr. Jooma said the members of Overseas Chamber of Commerce and Industries were ready to play their role to expedite the economic development of the country.