LAHORE - President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari has said that role of business community is crucial for the progress & prosperity of the country and they should help the government to achieve the economic goals.

He was speaking at the Annual Goodwill Dinner in honour of foreign ambassadors in Pakistan. Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani was the guest of honour. LCCI President Irfan Qaiser Sheikh, Senior Vice President Kashif Younis Meher and Vice President Saeeda Nazar also addressed the high-level gathering. As many as 50 ambassadors & diplomats and Federal ministers graced the prestigious function of the LCCI.

The President while highlighting the contribution of the industrialists pointed out that Pakistan’s entrepreneurs ensured the economic viability of the state that inherited negligible industrial base at the time of independence. He said that the accelerated growth has been achieved with the cooperation of business community. The government is availing the assistance of private sector under public-private ventures. He appreciated the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry, particularly, LCCI President Irfan Qaiser Sheikh, Senior Vice President Kashif Younis Meher and Vice President Saeeda Nazar for having constant liaison with foreign ambassadors and giving them update on economic situation.

Speaking on the occasion, LCCI President Irfan Qaiser Sheikh appreciated the efforts of government in war on terror and in maintaining the law and order in the country.

He said that the economy of Pakistan is suffering from the fatigue of the war on terrorism. He said that Pakistan has lost more than thirty four thousand lives while its economy has taken a hit of around 70 billion dollars.

He said that Pakistan should be granted maximum market access on favorable terms so our businesses can create jobs and opportunities for people to be hopeful. While seeking the help of diplomats, the LCCI President said that Pakistan wants trade, not aid. Irfan Qaiser said that mutual trade could be enhanced by exchanging trade delegations and organizing fairs and exhibitions.

The energy crisis is one of the key reasons behind low economic growth in Pakistan. We cannot overcome this energy crisis without depending on indigenous resources.  Our energy mix is heavily dependent on oil and gas, accounting for almost 80 per cent of primary energy supplies. We spent around 12 billion dollars on imports of oil last year.  Whereas, our local energy potential is based on water, coal and alternative resources such as solar and wind.  We can also harness responsible nuclear technology for meeting our future energy needs.