Pakistan survives bankruptcy; prosperity next target: PM

ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Monday said that having steered Pakistan out of the verge of bankruptcy, the coalition government was now striving to bring prosperity through dedicated efforts and by exploiting all of its energies.

“The previous government had pushed Pakistan to the verge of bankruptcy. Alhamdulillah, it has survived now thanks to Allah Almighty’s blessings and consultation of the coalition partners,” the prime minister said while addressing a reception hosted by him for the parliamentarians of the ruling coalition.

He told the gathering that the agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was about to reach containing “very tough” conditionalities.

He said despite its tall claims of building a Naya Pakistan, the previous government could not tax the affluent class. However, the incumbent government put that class under direct tax to make them share burden of the poor people. Calling it a revolutionary step, he said that imposing a direct tax on the rich class would bring in Rs200 billion to the national kitty.

“This is Quaid-e-Azam’s Pakistan who wanted to see it as a welfare state. This is a direct tax, not on sugar, iron or textile which could be passed on (to consumers). This is on the owners of the businesses and their income,” he explained.

He said considering inflation, the government provided relief to the poor people through Benazir Income Support Program. He also hinted at launching a program to promote solar energy in the country.

Similarly, he said the government also averted the crisis of edible oil by timely importing the commodity from Indonesia.

He told the parliamentarians that despite a price hike in oil and gas, the government was striving to tackle the situation to meet country’s energy needs.

He said in order to ensure low-cost power generation, the government would import high-quality coal from Afghanistan which would save $2 billion in foreign exchange. Through a series of meetings, the government had formulated a mechanism for transportation of coal from Afghanistan to the power plants through trucks and trains, he added.

n Shehbaz says agreement with IMF about to reach containing ‘very tough’ conditions n Hints at launching a program to promote solar energy in country
n Despite tall claims of building a Naya Pakistan, PTI govt couldn’t tax the affluent class n Approves Afghan coal import in Pak rupee for low-cost power generation

The prime minister said the government was also strategizing to enhance indigenous production of edible oil to save $4 billion. Similarly, the enhancement of cotton and wheat production was also on our agenda to support and stabilize the national economy, he added.

He said in order to achieve the said goals, Pakistan would seek technical support from the friendly countries, instead of seeking aid from them.

“Begging should come to an end. This will come to an end. A new era will usher in. In 14 months of our term, we will change fate of the country,” he resolved.

 

Earlier, the prime minister, while chairing a meeting approved the import of super-critical quality coal from Afghanistan in Pakistani rupee instead of dollars to help generate low-cost electricity in the country and directed the Railways Ministry to take all-out measures for swift transportation of the coal from Afghanistan to the power plants.

The PM viewed that the import of Afghan coal in Pakistani currency would save the foreign exchange.

Expressing concerns over the rising price of coal in the international market, he said that the rise in coal price was also one of the reasons behind the generation of expensive electricity by the coal power plants operating in the country.

During the meeting, the prime minister was told that the import of Afghan coal – initially for Sahiwal and Hub power plants – would save around $2.2 billion annually.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif directed the authorities concerned to devise an effective mechanism for the purpose to help generate low-cost power generation and provide relief to the domestic and industrial consumers.

He also instructed the formation of a committee of all relevant departments under Defence Minister Khawaja Asif.

Federal Ministers Syed Naveed Qamar, Khawaja Asif, Engineer Khurram Dastgir, Miftah Ismail, Rana Sanaullah Khan, Ahsan Iqbal and Khawaja Saad Rafiq, Advisor Ahad Cheema, Minister of State Dr Ayesha Ghaus Pasha and relevant senior officers attended the meeting.

Earlier, in his Twitter handle, the prime minister said that stressed upon collective efforts to make the polio vaccination campaign successful.

He said that polio was a deadly virus that threatened the future of the children.

He also regretted that the disease had not been fully eliminated from the country.

The polio campaign was being started today and would target 25 most vulnerable districts, he added.

“Polio is a deadly virus that threatens not just life but also the future of our children. It is regrettable that we have not fully eliminated it so far. Polio campaign starting today aims to target 25 most vulnerable districts. Let us make it a success; defeat polio, once for all,” the prime minister posted a tweet.

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