ISLAMABAD: The Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry has said that only economically strong Pakistan can handle all sorts of international pressures therefore “war against economic ills” should be started instantly and a task force for economic revival, having representatives from both public and private sector, should be formed.
“Pakistan is a resource-rich country and does not need any external financial help. Unfortunately, the previous governments did not pay any heed to tap the resources”, the LCCI President Malik Tahir Javaid, Senior Vice President Khawaja Khawar Rashid and Vice President Zeshan Khalil said in a statement.
The LCCI office-bearers said that economic weaknesses of any country give opportunity of criticism to the others and same is being happened in our case. They said that political instability, below the mark foreign direct investment, high cost of doing business, politics on mega projects like Kalabagh dam and huge trade deficit have led to stagnant growth in Pakistan. They said that Pakistan must have to address these issues through good economic reforms. They said that Pakistan has all resources to become an economic giant but only need is to set directions with zeal, courage and sincerity.
The LCCI office-bearers said Pakistan’s huge mineral resources can help get rid of the economic ills, particularly external debts of over $ 85 billions, within next five years. They said that country has one of the largest reserves of gold & copper and coal in the world. According to a rough estimate, value of coal reserves in Pakistan is 187 times more than the GDP of Pakistan and only 2% of Pakistani coal reserves can generate 20,000 MW of electricity for almost 50 years. In addition to gold, copper and coal, the country has vast reserves of precious stones, gypsum, salt and marble but instead of taking full advantage of these God-gifted resources most of the share being exported in raw form. He said that these resources must be used by the state instead of giving contracts to the foreign companies for extraction. They also called for new technologies and training of human resources for the mining sectors.
While strongly supporting the Kalabagh dam, the LCCI office-bearers said that this mega project should not be sacrificed to the political wills as it has to play a major role in economic uplift of the country. They said that Kalabagh Dam will store 6 millions acre feet of water and will give benefit of $ 12 billion annually to the economy. They said that KBD will produce 3600 MW or 31.5 billion watts of electricity that would cost only Rs.2.50 per unit and country would be saving $ 4 billions annually in account of electricity generation just after 5 years of KBD construction. They said that government should not listen to the opponent of KBD as they are opposing just of the Kalabagh dam, not of the India water aggression.
They said that most of Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs) are strangling the national exchequer by eating up around Rs.600 billion annually. Wastage of this hard-earned money of the taxpayers is a sheer injustice. They said that these PSEs should be turned into profitable by strict reforms.
The LCCI office-bearers said that market and products diversification is the best method to boost the exports. They said that Pakistani exports always remained dependent on a few items and countries. United States, China, Afghanistan, United Kingdom and Germany are top five trading partners of Pakistan while various lucrative destinations are still untouched. They said that Pakistani missions abroad should be given task to find out new destinations for Pakistan products. Government should also facilitated export-oriented industries by resolving their genuine issues like delay in refunds etc.
They said that tourism industry the tourism industry is one of the largest industries with direct or indirect economic contributions of over $ 7.5 trillion but this sector of Pakistan is not working as good as it should be. They said that Pakistan needs to market itself as tourism destination as it is endowed with beautiful landscapes, sceneries, historical heritage and other attractive places for international tourists. They said that tourism industry of Pakistan has the potential to turn Pakistan into a hub of economic activities and can give revenue of billions of dollars to the national exchequer.
They said that keeping in view the fast changing global scenario and challenges for Pakistan, government immediate economic planning and its implementation in true sense of world is a must for self-reliance and to avert any serious challenge to the national sovereignty.