ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday said it was the government’s top priority to provide jobs to the locals through promotion of industrialization under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The premier stated this while addressing the signing ceremony of ‘Development Agreement of Rashakai Special Zone’. Earlier, he witnessed the signing of agreement.

The prime minister, on the occasion, congratulated Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan over the agreement, which would prove a giant milestone not only for the province, but also for the whole country. He said out of four industrial zones to be set up under CPEC, Rashakai was prioritised to encourage growth of industries and spur local jobs for the people at their doorsteps.

The prime minister mentioned that a United Nations survey had indicated that the KP province was leading the efforts at reduction of poverty. He said often, the people went outside the country or other parts of the country for getting jobs and it was difficult phase for leaving behind a family and eke out. “My government’s interest is definitely to provide job opportunities to the locals at their doorsteps,” he added. 

The KP chief minister, ministers, members of the National Development and Reforms Commission (NDRC) China, CPEC Authority and other relevant high officials were present during the ceremony. Referring to the strategic position of Pakistan in the wider regional connectivity with the Central Asian countries, he welcomed the commencement of intra-Afghan dialogue in Doha, and said Pakistan had played a vital role in the Afghan peace talks.

If there were peace, it would lead towards achievement of wider regional connectivity upto Central Asia, he said, adding the deputy prime minister of Uzbekistan recently visited Pakistan and they were keen for a railway line from Mazar Sharif to Peshawar.

Besides it, the ML-1 would prove vital in the regional connectivity reducing travelling distance between different cities of the country manifold, he said. It would also enhance the cargo activities, ease of doing and cost of doing business, he added.

Such a strategic location of Pakistan, the prime minister said, would prove beneficial for the trade and business activities and especially the KP province, which had been on the frontline in the war on terror and gave immense sacrifices.

About CPEC, the prime minister said they were moving forward from communication linkage to industrialization growth through agreements. “Our next phase is industrialization. During 60s, the nationalisation drive had affected the country‘s economy and exports. Our next way leads to industrialisation. The Chinese industry wanted to relocate and Pakistan offers very attractive environment with complete incentivisation,” he added.

Remittances rise by 31pc in July-August this year: PM

ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Imran Khan said yesterday that remittances sent by overseas Pakistanis to the country maintained their upward trend in August 2020.

In a tweet, the prime minister said that remittances for August were $2.10 billion, translating into a 24.4 percent rise as compared to the same period, last year, adding that this was “in addition to the record $2,768 million in July 2020.

“For the first two months of this fiscal year our remittances are up 31 percent over the same period last year,” he added.

Separately, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) in a press release stated that “workers’ remittances remained above $2 billion for the third month in a row” during August 2020, “largely in line” with its projections.

“Over the last three months, remittances reached an unprecedented level of $7.3 billion, 37.2 percent higher than the same period last year,” it said, noting that the top three countries from which remittances originated in August were Saudi Arabia ($0.593 billion), the United Arab Emirates ($0.410 billion), and the United Kingdom ($0.302 billion).

The central bank attributed the rise to the efforts made under the Pakistan Remittances Initiative (PRI) and the gradual reopening of businesses in major host countries such as the United States, as well as others in the Middle East and Europe.

However, it underlined that on a month-on-month basis, remittances were 24.3 percent lower than the record level in July 2020, “reflecting the usual seasonal decline in the post Eidul Azha period”.

Back in August, PM Imran had shared the record statistics, terming them “more good news” for Pakistan’s economy. Prior to that, he had appreciated overseas Pakistanis for sending more remittances through banking channels.

Reforming tax system top priority: Premier Khan

Prime Minister Imran Khan said Monday that reforming the tax system to make it fair and transparent was the top priority of the government.

Chairing a high-level meeting on tax system reforms in the country here, the prime minister said a fair and transparent tax system was important in improving efficiency of the government, ensuring effective governance and welfare of the people.

The prime minister said the tax system had been changed time to time in such a manner that the entire tax burden falls on the general public and small businessmen.

The forum presented various proposals to the prime minister regarding tax system reforms including rectification of flaws, elimination of tax evasion and corruption of tax officials.

Prime minister welcomed the proposals and directed minister for industry and production and advisers on finance and trade to take a detailed look at them so that the workable roadmap could be implemented.

Chairing a meeting to review the progress on establishment of Al-Qadir University to promote Seerat-un-Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Alihi Wasallam) and teachings of Sufia, Imran Khan stressed the need to promote Islamic values and teachings of Sufia-e-Kiram in order to highlight the true spirit and values of the society.

The Prime Minister said it is necessary that our new generation should be well aware of the various aspects of Seerat-un-Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Alihi Wasallam) and teachings of Sufis.

He said that modern education should also be planned incorporating the teachings of Sufism to prepare students fully prepared to face the challenges of the day.

Imran Khan directed to expedite construction of the university in the shortest possible time in order to start educational activities.