Lahore, January 27, 2018 (PPI-OT):Federal Minister for Interior, Planning, Development and Reforms Prof. Ahsan Iqbal Saturday inaugurated first-ever NADRA Facilitation Desk for business community at LCCI. The LCCI President Malik Tahir Javaid, Senior Vice President Khawaja Khawar Rashid, Vice President Zeeshan Khalil, former office-bearers and Executive Committee Members were present on the occasion.
The NADRA Kiosk at LCCI is another great facility and it would meet needs of large number of businessmen in Lahore. Federal Minister said that establishment of NADRA Kiosk Center at LCCI is part of the government efforts to facilitate the business community.
Earlier, addressing the LCCI members, Prof. Ahsan Iqbal said that economic health of the country was frightening before 2013. He said Pakistan was considered the most dangerous country of the world due to terrorism and deteriorating law and order situation, and load shedding was 20 hours long while the industrial activity was badly hampered due to power shortage before 2013. He said that people were shifting from Karachi due to extortion and target killing. National anthem and flag hoisting was a crime in Balochistan before 2013. Economy was stagnant at 3% while IMF was predicting that Pakistan would be bankrupt in 2014.
He said that but situation quickly changed when PML-N government came into power and turned Pakistan into fast emerging economy. He said that PML-N government targeted four areas including energy, extremism, economy and education and achieved considerable success. He said World Economic Forum has declared Pakistan better than India as an emerging economy. He said that GDP growth reached to 5.3% in previous year while it expected that it would be around 6% at the end of ongoing year.
He said that PML-N government has added 11,000 MW of electricity in the national grid. He said that investment in infrastructure development reached to Rs.413 billion. He said that Lahore-Multan road section will be completed by the end of 2018, Multan Sukkur section will be completed. He said that socio-economic development has given confidence to the people of Balochistan. He said that Karachi has become the city of lights again and about 100 closed industrial units have been reopened that were closed due to bad law and order situation.
Prof. Ahsan Iqbal said that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project would change the destiny of Pakistan, as the two countries were taking ahead the project to its next stages successfully. The Interior Minister added that today the world was focusing eyes on Pakistan besides terming it as an ideal country for foreign investment.
About China Pakistan Economic Corridor, Ahsan Iqbal said that this project is a game changer and it is playing a significant role in economic development of Pakistan. He said that massive investments under CPEC is further strengthening Pak-China friendship. He said CPEC is a national agenda and has been put into implementation in record time due to total commitment of both Pakistani and Chinese leadership. He expressed satisfaction over progress of CPEC projects.
The LCCI President Malik Tahir Javaid said that development and peace are the two of the major concerns of businesses. Development requires the removal of major sources of un-freedom: poverty as well as tyranny, poor economic opportunities as well as systematic social deprivation, neglect of public facilities as well as intolerance or over-activity of repressive states. He said that People in better economic condition are less likely to initiate violent conflict both because they are more content and because they have more to lose from the physical danger and economic disruption that war brings. The propensity to indulge in violent conflict is higher for low income or less educated people.
He said that in case of Pakistan, governance and institutional quality have deteriorated over the years. In corruption perception index, although Pakistan’s ranking improved slightly but it still ranked on high side at 116th among 180 countries. The low performing area identified was overall country’s risk which includes credit risk, economic risk and political risk. , Pakistan had not been able to improve the business climate with the result that it’s ranking slipped to as low as 144th out of 190 economies in 2017.
The LCCI President said according to the recently released World Bank Ease of Doing Business 2018 report, Pakistan has slipped three places reaching an all-time low of 147. He said that Pakistan is confronting myriad issues such as terrorism, sectarian violence, corruption, external influence and internal imbroglio that impede progress, development and prosperity of Pakistan. He said After Army operations Zarb-e-Azb and Rudd-ul-Fasaad, 90% terrorism has been rooted out. However, the tail of terrorism is still pervasive across borders especially Pak-Afghan border that slowly sows the seed of terrorism.
Malik Tahir Javaid said during the last 16 years, the direct and indirect cost incurred by Pakistan due to incidents of terrorism amounted to US$ 123.13 billion. He said that National Security has become a broad subject with social, political and economic dimensions gaining importance. The nature of threats is changing with technological revolution. He said that CPEC has changed Geo-Political equilibrium in the region due to which new Geo-Political pressures are developing on Pakistan.
So far as the preparedness for CPEC is concerned, the governments of Pakistan and China have to engage the private sectors of both the countries to create win-win situation for all. We must develop a comprehensive approach with the ownership of all stakeholders to succeed in implementation. The proactive approach adopted by Chinese businessmen gives this impression that they are taking CPEC much more seriously than us. Government needs to give right type of incentives to transform this scenario where both Chinese and Pakistani businessmen have level playing field and fair opportunities to grow.
Khawar Rashid and Zeeshan Khalil assured the Federal Minister of the best cooperation from the business community to make Pakistan a country where rule of law reigns supreme; where every Pakistani feels secure to lead a life in conformity with his religious beliefs, culture, heritage and customs; where a Pakistani from any group, sect or province respects the culture, tradition and faith of the other, where every foreign visitor feels welcome and secure.
For more information, contact:
Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI)
Lahore -54000, Pakistan