LAHORE - Former Federal Minister for Commerce Humayun Akhtar Khan has said that the government would have to overcome energy crisis to restore the confidence of the business sector besides focusing on the manufacturing sector. If you wanted to restore the confidence of the business sector, you must have to solve the energy problem first. You really need to depend on manufacturing and private sectors this year, Akhtar said while addressing The Nation Pre-Budget Seminar here on Saturday. The topic of his presentation was 'Declining foreign trade and its impact on economy. The former Federal Minister for Commerce said that Pakistans exports registered a substantial decrease as compared to the previous years. We moved from $7.8 billion to $19.2 billion at the peak time of economic growth in the last seven years, he said. But due to international recession, he added, our exports had been decreased considerably. We achieved an average 7 per cent GDP growth rate because we had done a lot in the Large Scale Manufacturing sector, he said, adding, but the latest record shows 7.7 per cent negative growth in this sector. He said that Pakistan is one of the leading cotton producing countries but contributed minimum in the textile value addition. He further said that Pakistan needed to set the target of 9 to 10 per cent GDP growth rate to eradicate poverty. Khan, also one of the leading industrialists of the country, said that government should not cut down Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) allocations. If the budgeted amounts are cut then there is huge problem, he added. He hoped that the government would increase allocation for the PSDP in the forthcoming budget. He also asserted that the government have controlled inflation this year but needed to focus on the manufacturing sector. He said that core inflation was the main problem as it swelled due to high imports and increase in the prices of petroleum products. He said that exports and remittances did well this year. But there are chances that the remittances would decrease in the future due to international economic meltdown. He also said that after November 15, 2007 the government borrowed more than Rs one trillion from the central bank, which triggered inflation in the country. Criticising the present regime, he said that the present leadership did not focus on water and other agricultural issues. He further informed that the FBR could not achieve its set target for revenue collection this year. He also urged the government to take important steps to cut down cost of capital and cost of doing business to put the economy back on track. He said that the Reconstruction Opportunity Zones (ROZs) to be established in Pakistan and Afghanistan would help increase Pakistans exports as the export duty would be zero rated during first 15 years. Humayun Akhtar Khan said that the European Union would also sign Free Trade Agreement with Pakistan if they singed it with India. The government needs to depend on manufacturing and private sectors this year besides controlling the core inflation. He said that India had announced 6.7 per cent growth rate but Pakistans growth rate is still below three per cent. We should also become economic power besides atomic power, he maintained. Addressing the seminar, Khawaja Iqbal Hassan, President/CEO NIB Bank said that the banks are facing several issues in Pakistan these days. He said that the Non-Performing Loans (NPL) jumped to Rs 316 billion from Rs 142 billion in 2008, which is 82 per cent jump over 2007. We see a dangerous trend is developing, he said adding, When we lend money we lose money. He was addressing The Nations pre-budget seminar with subject 'banking sector: the way forward. He said that the banking sector in Pakistan has seen record growth during the last six years in terms of new hiring, expansion and establishment of news branches. The economy also grew much better during this period as it was a golden period of the banking sector in Pakistan. But at a global level, he said, we have seen complete devastation in some parts of the world. We are trustees of the money of the depositors, he said. Hassan also tried to dispel the impression that the banks are making huge money in Pakistan due to 7 per cent banking spread. He said that salaries and administrative expenses of the banks are the largest expenses, which is about 50 per cent of the operating money. Without a healthy banking system, there would be no economic growth, he added. He also said that the businesses must have equity to sustain but unfortunately in Pakistan the equity in business is often quite unsatisfactory. He also said that the gap between the industry and the banks is widening. Without banks lending new businesses show little growth. We can improve the economy if we will work together, he said. Banks are stupid at sometime but not at all time, he added. He also said that the banks should resolve all such issues. He also hoped that the banks will move forward despite all challenges.