LAHORE - Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) of the World Bank Group has shown its readiness to invest in healthcare system and industrial parks of Punjab.

A delegation of the Agency, led by its Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer Ms. Keiko Honda, met Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif here on Saturday, and said that there were remarkable achievements to Punjab government’s credit in different sectors.

She said that close cooperation will be extended to the Punjab government for increasing investment in different sectors.

CM said that Pakistan’s economy had strengthened due to effective policies of the government. “Foreign exchange reserves of the country have reached record levels,” he added.

Referring to the steps taken for coping with the energy crisis, Shahbaz said that besides traditional methods, power was being generated through alternate sources too.

He said that thousands of megawatts of electricity would be added to the national grid after the completion of energy projects by the end of next year. He said that agriculture, industry and other sectors would develop due to increase in power production.

“The government is also producing electricity through indigenous resources,” the CM said, and added, “The federal and Punjab governments are speedily implementing projects of electricity generation through gas.”

He expressed the optimism that completion of gas-based power projects of 3,600 MWs will result in availability of cheap electricity to the masses.  “Work is continuing round the clock on 1320 MWs coal power plant in Sahiwal,” he informed.

Shahbaz said that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor would be completed in the beginning of next year.

He said that a huge sum of Rs112 billion had been saved on gas power projects by adopting the highest standard of transparency. “Loadshedding will be overcome to a large extent by the end of next year,” he claimed.

Shahbaz further said that political and military leadership were on one page for eliminating the menace of terrorism and extremism from the country, and that Operation Zarb-e-Azb had broken the back of terrorists.

Paying tributes to the armed forces for registering splendid successes in Operation Zarb-e-Azab, he said that rooting out terrorists was essential for achieving socio-economic development.

Referring to the steps taken for the development of social sector in Punjab, the CM said that Punjab government had introduced a number of reforms for the improvement of education, health and other sectors. “Record resources have been announced for this purpose during the current fiscal year,” he added.

He told the delegation that he personally reviewed the implementation of reforms in education, health and social sectors.  “A large portion of Pakistan’s population comprises youth and provision of vocational training to them for their empowerment is a big challenge,” he admitted.

Shahbaz said the government had evolved a programme to make 2 million youth skillful during the next two years, and that technical assistance of the World Bank for this programme will be welcomed.

He said that metro bus projects were running successfully in Lahore and Islamabad-Rawalpindi, while metro bus project in Multan was in final stages of completion. “Provision of modern transport facilities to the masses is a priority for the government,” he said, and added, “Lahore’s Orange Line Metro Train project is also being executed speedily.”

The CM said that the government had eliminated child labour from brick kilns by enrolling the children working at brick kilns in schools and by giving them scholarships.

He said that a conducive atmosphere for investment has been created in Punjab. He said that private sector has also been provided favorable conditions for business. He said that hospitals are being upgraded in Punjab for extending modern treatment facilities to the masses. He said that the first apparel park of the country is being set up near motorway. He said that MIGA should consider setting up a separate institution for financing the sector of industrial development. Provincial Ministers Rana Mashhood Ahmad, Zakiya Shahnawaz, Asif Saeed Manais, Advisor Dr. Ijaz Nabi, Chief Secretary, Chairman Planning & Development, concerned secretaries, Senior Vice President Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry Almas Haider and senior officers were present on the occasion.