LAHORE: Federal Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar said that the textile industry would get gas for two days a week as per decision of the Federal Government. The government is taking tangible measures to overcome the energy crisis in the country and 41,000 mega watts power will be added to the system in next few years, he said addressing the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) award ceremony at the Governor’s House. The Finance Minister said increase in the electricity prices was due to the bad economic policies of previous regime. The government will announce petroleum and gas policy next year, he added.
Dar congratulated the textile industry and the nation on behalf of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on achieving GSP (Generalized System of Preferences) Plus status in the European Union (EU) markets.
This indicates trust of the European Union in the policies of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government under the leadership of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, he added.
The minister said the preferential market access to the Pakistani products to the European Union markets would help boost country’s ailing economy, revolutionize the textile sector, fight the menace of terrorism, and build infrastructure.
He said the government had been pursuing the policy of trade and investment rather than aid. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during his US visit refused any assistance from the United States, but demanded market access.
There were many ambiguities regarding trade with the US and the Prime Minister had tasked Minister of State Khurram Dastgir Khan to remove the same, he added.
About the Prime Minister’s Youth Business Loan scheme, he said this scheme would bring economic revolution in the country as the youth made up 50 per cent of the population.
The Finance Minster said the PML-N government would ensure that people get rid of hunger, ignorance and disease. He said the textile industry was the backbone of country’s economy.
It could easily double the exports from 13 billion dollars to 26 billion dollars, he added.
He said the PML-N government had given a three-year macro development programme to the nation rather than a one year budget. It was committed to establish macro-economic stability in the country. The fiscal deficit would be reduced from 8.2 to 4 per cent in the next three years, he added.
He criticized the pseudo intellectuals regarding their predictions about the devaluation of rupee and increase in the US dollar price. The US dollar price would be brought down, he said and urged the investors to encash their dollars to avoid losses.
About the IMF loan, Dar said it was unavoidable as the bad policies adopted by previous regimes were responsible for the current economic situation.
Talking about the economic achievements of government, he said it had paid 3 billion dollar liabilities of the previous government and fulfilled the sovereign commitments as a dignified nation. It has achieved 5 per cent GDP growth due to its economic reforms, he added.
Endorsing the idea of privatization for better economic activity by APTMA Group Chairman Gohar Ijaz, the minister said the government would privatize some of the institutions. The government would recover outstanding Rs 800 million from the Etisalat.
The Finance Minister conveyed the heart-felt felicitations to APTMA from Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif.
Speaking on the occasion, Punjab Governor Mohammad Sarwar congratulated the industrialists on achieving the GSP Plus status. He also thanked Dr Sajjad Kaleem and EU Parliament members David Martin and Cecilia for their support to Pakistan.
EU Parliament Member David Martin said Pakistan had great potential. It was a frontline state in the war against terrorism and it was necessary to help boost its economy.
Martin said the grant of GSP Plus status to Pakistan was due to the successful lobbying by the Pakistani government. The EU would continue to support Pakistan, he added.
Earlier APTMA Central President Yasin Siddique and Group Chairman Ghoar Ijaz talked about the problems faced by the textile industry.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar also gave away awards to the best textile industrialists during the year.
Federal Minister for Petroleum Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Minister of State for Finance Khurram Dastgir Khan were also present during the ceremony.