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Imran Khan held meeting with top businessmen-industrialists-economists

15 October, 2018

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday held meeting with the country’s top businessmen, industrialists and economists to discuss with them challenges to the economy and the way forward for steering the country out of its financial crisis.

The prime minister said he wanted to put the country on the track of sustainable growth by implementing the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government’s reform and growth agenda.

The meeting was held to discuss the current situation and growth of the country’s economy, said an official release issued by the Prime Minister Office.

The meeting was attended by Finance Minister Asad Umar, Adviser to the PM on Commerce Abdul Razzak Dawood, Hussain Dawood, Ali S. Habib, Bashir Mohammad, Arif Habib, Mian Abdullah, Tariq Segal, Khurrum Mukhtar, Fawad Ahmed Mukhtar, Dr Salman Shah, Dr Ashfaque Hasan Khan and others.

The marathon meeting, which lasted about three hours, desired that the country’s imports should be curtailed and discouraged to save and swell its foreign currency reserves.

The participants of the meeting while acknowledging huge challenges that the present government has inherited appreciated the measures taken by it to stabilise the economy and restore confidence of the business community.

They appreciated the five million housing project of the present government which they said would not only generate economic activities but would also help in creation of jobs and growth of allied local industries associated with the construction sector.

Discussing various issues of the economy, the participants presented various proposals to strengthen local industries and provide them with a level playing field in order to make Pakistani products internationally competitive.

They assured the prime minister that the business community of the country would provide its full support to the government towards implementing its reform agenda and overcoming the current economic challenges.

The meeting also discussed in detail various short, medium and long-term measures to promote vital sectors of the economy, such as agriculture, industry on one hand, and to plug the holes that were continuously draining the economy, on the other.

The participants desired that the country’s agriculture should also be revived so that people could rely on local production. On this some of the businessmen were of the view that why fruits and vegetables were being imported from neighbouring countries, including India, despite the fact local growers could grow everything in the country. In this connection they suggested that the government should provide better opportunities and skill development facilities to farmers.

PM Khan thanked the participants of the meeting for their valuable input. He said the current economic situation had necessitated difficult economic decisions. However, he added, the government was trying its best to protect the interests of poor and vulnerable people of the country.

He said the input of the business community’s members would help the government remove bottlenecks in the way to attracting investment in the country and ensure growth of its industry.

Talking to reporters later, Finance Minister Asad Omar said it was a consultative meeting called to get recommendations from the country’s top-ranking businessmen and industrialists on the basis of their market experiences.

He said one of the proposals from the business community was to strengthen country’s exports by providing more incentives to exporters and solving their problems, including refund of their dues.

The minister said PM Khan’s forthcoming visit to China was also discussed in the meeting and it was emphasised that Pakistan should get maximum benefits from China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Some of the participants also suggested enhancement in trade with China.

They also demanded improvement in electricity generation and distribution systems so that the industrial sector of the country could give better output thus help increase export of the country.

The minister said the businessmen expressed concern over the role of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), saying that the anti-graft watchdog was creating harassment for the business community and local investors as a result they had become conscious and disturbed which was affecting business activities in the country. “Not only in this meeting but in many other meetings even the prime minister agreed that NAB should not shake the confidence of investors through undue harassment,” he added.

He said the participants of the meeting hailed the government’s plan to construct five million houses in the country and hoped that it will boost local industries related to construction activities.

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