| Chief Secretaries tell PM applications for approval of projects over 50 million square-feet area received | Imran Khan says growth in construction activities to strengthen economy | Ravi City, Bundle Island projects to have positive impact on economy

MAQBOOL MALIK 

ISLAMABAD

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday was informed that Punjab and KPK governments had received applications for approval of construction projects over 50 million square feet area which would generate an economic activity of around Rs 1100 billion.

During the weekly meeting of National Coordination Committee on Housing, Construction and Development, Punjab chief secretary said that from across the province, they had received applications for construction projects over 44 million square feet of which approval for 20 mln sq ft had already been granted. 

Special assistants to the Prime Minister Malik Amin Aslam and Shahbaz Gill, Advisor Dr Ishrat Hussain, federal and provincial secretaries and senior officers attended the meeting, a PM Office press release said.

The Punjab Chief Secretary told the meeting that with the enhancement of construction activity, the consumption of all allied materials like cement, bricks and steel had also increased. Following the construction on 44 mln sq ft area, an economic activity worth Rs 1 trillion (Rs 1000 billion) would generate, he added.

Similarly, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Secretary said they had received requests for construction projects over six mln sq ft area which would beget economic activity of around Rs 100 billion.

The prime minister viewed that the acceleration of the construction activity would improve national economy besides providing employment opportunities to the people.

He also directed the Punjab government to approve the received applications without any delay, following the prescribed rules. Besides, emphasizing the awareness on Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme, the prime minister instructed Pakistan Telecommunication and NEPRA to coordinate with the State Bank of Pakistan to resolve the issues confronting the construction industry.

State Bank Governor Raza Baqir told the meeting that the banks were fully facilitating the loaning process for construction of houses under Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme. Moreover, special desks had been set up at around half of the bank branches in each district across the country. A representative of Bank Al Habib informed the meeting that they had so far approved loan worth Rs 6 billion for the construction industry.

On this occasion, Prime Minister Imran Khan said that growth in construction activities will strengthen Pakistan’s economy and provide employment opportunities to the people. The Prime Minister directed Punjab government to approve applications for construction as per prevailing laws as soon as possible. 

He also directed Pakistan Telecommunication and National Electric Power Regulatory Authority to work with the State Bank of Pakistan to resolve issues related to construction sector at the earliest. The Prime Minister stressed on public awareness regarding Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme.

Coastal line feasible for urban constructions

Prime Minister Imran Khan also said that Pakistan’s coastal line is feasible for urban constructions of international standard and tourism as well as it has the capacity to create enormous opportunities for foreign investment.

He was chairing a meeting of the working groups of Pakistan Island Development Authority and Ravi Urban Development Authority in Islamabad on Friday. The Prime Minister said Ravi City Project will not only help reduce population pressure on big cities like Lahore, but also introduce new dimensions of urban planning.

He said big projects will have positive impact on country’s economy and lives of the common people.

He said these projects will help develop local industry and create new job opportunities in the country.

The Prime Minister was briefed that Ravi City and the urban centers on islands will be constructed in line with the principles of green city for the first time in the history of Pakistan.

Every possible facility to industry

Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that providing every possible facility to the industry is one of the top priorities of the government to stabilize the country’s economy. Talking to Minister for Power Division Omar Ayub Khan in Islamabad on Friday, he expressed satisfaction over the business community’s gesture of welcoming the government’s decision regarding provision of electricity on subsidised rates. The Power Division Minister briefed the Prime Minister about matters relating to industrial package, energy, and petroleum. He said government’s decision to provide electricity on subsidized tariff has produced positive results.

Pakistan’s commitment for Afghan peace

Earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan said that his maiden visit to Kabul on Thursday was “another step towards conveying Pakistan’s commitment to peace in Afghanistan.” 

On Twitter, the prime minister said he never believed in military solutions, rather always believed that peace in Afghanistan would be achieved through political dialogue. “After the Afghans, we have the greatest stake in this peace as it will allow for connectivity & trade, bringing prosperity to both Afghans & Pakistanis,” he added. 

The prime minister said the Pakistani people living in the tribal areas, who had suffered the ravages of the war in Afghanistan, would especially benefit from peace and trade.

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Ravi City, Bundle Island projects to have positive impact on economy

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday said the mega urban development projects of Ravi City, Lahore and Bundle Island, Karachi would bring in positive impact on the country’s economy and the lives of common man.

The two mega projects, besides promoting the local industries, would also help create job opportunities in the country, he added.

The prime minister expressed these views while presiding over a meeting here of the working groups of Pakistan Island Development Authority (PIDA) and Ravi Urban Development Authority (RUDA).

He said Pakistan’s coastal-line was not only appropriate for tourism and urban development of international standards, but also had the potential of creating numerous investment opportunities.

The prime minister further said that the Ravi City project, besides reducing the pressure of urban population in the big city of Lahore, would introduce new dimensions of urban planning in the country.

During the meeting, which was attended by Sindh Governor Imran Ismail and Punjab Chief Secretary Jawad Rafiq Malik through video-link, the prime minister was briefed about the progress made so far on the two projects.

The prime minister was told that the urban centers at Ravi City and Bundle Island would be constructed for the first time in the country’s history in line with the principles of a green city.

The Ravi Urban Development Authority chairman told the meeting that the survey of 18600 acres of land for the construction had been completed, which did not require any evacuation or dislocation of the local residents.

He said Ravi City project, besides providing the residential facilities of international standards to the people, would prove to be a model in the region to follow due to the availability of basic amenities like sewerage, underground water tanks, safety and environmental protection.

It may be mentioned here that instead of taking loans, the two projects are being development on the basis of public private partnership for which international institutions and investors are taking keen interest.

The Pakistan Island Development Authority chairman apprised the prime minister of the interest being taken by various international companies in the master planning and environmental study of the Island development. 

Fruits of economic stabilization should reach common man

Also, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday, while expressing his satisfaction over the situation of economic stabilization in the country, stressed that the fruits of improvement in the economy should reach the common man at the earliest.

He said with the government’s strategy to tackle the COVID-19 situation hailed at international level, Pakistan’s economy was growing fast in the region, to which the economic team and their coordinated strategy deserved credit.

The prime minister expressed views while presiding over a meeting held here to review the country’s economic situation.

Federal ministers Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, Muhammad Hammad Azhar, Advisor on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Advisor on Institutional Reforms Dr Ishrat Hussain and Special Assistant to the PM Dr Waqar Masood were in attendance.

The prime minister lauded the economic team for their efforts regarding economic discipline and better debt management. He described the positive trends depicted in the country’s Large Scale Manufacturing (LSM) sector as a good omen for the economy.

The meeting also discussed in detail the possible effects of the second wave of coronavirus on the country’s economy as well as the protection of poor segments of the society through Kefalat Programme.

PM assigns governors to oversee Citizen Portal complaints disposal in provinces

Prime Minister Imran Khan Friday tasked the provincial governors to review the mechanism for disposal of complaints registered through the Pakistan Citizen Portal (PCP) pertaining to federal departments operating in their respective provinces. 

The governors would carry out periodic performance evaluation of the PCP-dashboards of the Federal Government’s organizations and a senior level focal person would be nominated for regular liaison with the Prime Minister Delivery Unit (PMDU).

The decision was taken in view of lacking collective performance review of the Federal Government organizations functioning in the provinces. 

The PMDU was also directed to create exclusive dashboards for the governors’ offices and carry out orientation of the nominated focal persons.

The Citizen Portal has emerged as the most trusted medium for complaints resolution by providing common man a forum as well as voice to raise the issue.

The registration of around three million people at the portal manifested the people’s confidence in the system. 

The people have lodged 2.7 million complaints with 94% resolution and a total of 617,000 complainants have posted satisfactory feedback.

In order to receive and process public complaints, 8,913 PCP-dashboards have been created for officers of all government organizations across the country. Apart from the provincial departments, dashboards have also been created for officers of the Federal Government organizations functioning in the provinces.