LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that energy crisis , corruption, terrorism and extremism have caused irreparable loss to national economy. He said that country can be rid of these problems through hard work, untiring efforts and collective wisdom.

He said that energy crisis , extremism and corruption are interlinked and we have to cope with these problems jointly. He said that we have to depend upon our own resources for achieving the targets of economic development and growth. The CM said that there is a great potential in agriculture, livestock and dairy farming sectors. He said that national economy can be strengthened by developing these sectors. He said that under the leadership of Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, sincere efforts are being made for eliminating energy crisis , strengthening national economy and increasing growth rate. He expressed the hope that the motherland would soon be rid of these problems. He disclosed that the government has evolved a strategy during nine months for resolving serious problems.

He was addressing the participants of 3-day South Asia Growth Conference at a local hotel here Monday. Advisor on Economic Affairs Dr Ijaz Nabi, Chief Secretary, Chairman Planning & Development, secretaries of various departments and economic experts of different countries were present on the occasion. Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif said that participation of the experts of various countries of the world in the conference being held in the provincial metropolis is a welcome step and we will take steps for increasing economic growth by benefiting from their experiences. He said that Punjab government is establishing first modern garments zone of its kind on motorway over 1300 acres of land and latest facilities will be provided in this garments zone. He said that after the status of GSP Plus, country’s exports will increase. He said that skilled workforce is being prepared with the collaboration of DFID of UK and thousands of boys and girls have been provided training under their programme so far. He said that the scope of this programme launched in four districts of South Punjab has been extended to 18 districts. Similarly, more than 50 thousand poor but talented male and female students are getting higher education in local and foreign educational institutions through Punjab Educational Endowment Fund, he added.

He said that more that 175000 people are travelling daily by metro bus in provincial metropolis and after the success of this project, foundation stone of Rawalpindi-Islamabad metro bus project will be laid on March 23. Advisor on Economic Affairs, Dr. Ijaz Nabi, while highlighting the aims and objective, of conference, told that the experts will discuss four important basic problems including energy, urbanization, governance and economic growth and will suggest solution of these problems in the light of their research.

He said that one of the objectives of this conference is to further promote contacts between researchers and policy makers. Executive Director International Growth Center Dr. Jonathon, Country Core Director India Dr. Gupta and other experts also addressed the conference.

Meanwhile,  Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has said that contacts between Pakistan and China are increasing at every level and the investment of Chinese companies in the development of Pakistan is highly encouraging. He said that there is a vast scope of cooperation between Pakistan and China in education, health, energy, transport and other sectors and the launching of joint ventures is paving way for socio-economic development. He said the bonds of friendship and love between the two countries are strengthening day by day and Pakistanis value highly Chinese cooperation in the national development.

The CM said this while addressing a luncheon he hosted in the honour of a delegation of Peoples Republic of China in Islamabad. Former Ambassador of China in Pakistan and Director General Department of Asian Affairs Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China Luo Zhaohui and other members of delegation attended the luncheon. Ambassador of China in Pakistan Sun Weidong, Interior Minister Ch. Nisar Ali Khan, Minister for Water and Power Kh. Muhammad Asif, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Advisor to Prime Minister Tariq Fatimi were also present.

The Chief Minister said that the mega projects to be started with Chinese investment will usher in a new era of economic progress in Pakistan while economic activities will accelerate and new jobs and trade activities will be created. He said that China has always extended generous cooperation to Pakistan and the launching of mega projects with Chinese cooperation will set new examples of bilateral cooperation. The Chief Minister also appreciated the services of former Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Lou Zahohui and said that he played an active role for promotion of mutual cooperation between Pakistan and China. He expressed the hope that as Director General Department of Asian Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, he will make his best efforts for strengthening contacts between Pakistan and China at the highest level. Referring to the ongoing welfare programmes in Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif said that the government is endeavoring for solution of public problems and effective measures are being taken for improving law and order and security situation, elimination of poverty, ignorance and employment as well as raising the living standard of the masses.

Director General Department of Asian Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China Lou Zhauhui thanked the Chief Minister for the sentiments of goodwill and expressed the hope that the way the leadership of the two counties are taking effective measures for public service will help China and Pakistan benefit from each others’ experiences in every sector of life and continue the journey towards economic stability.