Industrialisation, exports key to economic growth: Imran

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Monday said industrial progress and exports were key to a nation’s progress and prosperity.

Addressing the launching ceremony of the Pakistan-China Business Investment Forum as a chief guest, the prime minister said the process of wealth creation was impossible without industrial development just as an increase in exports complemented these efforts.

The body is formed in collaboration with the Board of Investment (BoI) and All-Pakistan Chinese Enterprises Association (APCEA) with the objective to promote investment by the Chinese companies in Pakistan and enhance business-to-business industrial cooperation.

The prime minister observed that during the 1960s, Pakistan was moving towards industrialisation, but the nationalisation of industries in the early 1970s choked the economy.

He said different small countries in the world had increased their exports capacities. His government had provided incentives to the information technology sector and within two years their exports doubled in size, Khan said.

Referring to the success stories of China and Turkey, the prime minister observed they made strides by enhancing their industrial and exports capabilities. Turkey overcome its trade deficit with an increase in exports and, in the process, also raised its GDP which now stands at $720 billion, he said.

Khan opined that in Pakistan, focus on industrialisation had never been made a priority in the past. The establishment of the body would enhance ease of doing business between the China and Pakistan companies, he said.

Terming the launch of the forum a special occasion, Khan said it would help the government to get feedback over investment and trade issues and overcome the bottlenecks with the provision of incentives.

He further observed that the investment process was time-consuming which was precious for an investor.

The prime minister assured that the government and BoI were making all out efforts to eliminate the blockages in this process and to further facilitate the Chinese investment.

The ceremony was attended by the ministers, advisers, Chinese ambassador Nong Rong, and representatives of the Chinese and Pakistani businesses.

The prime minister said the government had taken concrete measures to stabilise the country’s economy before Covid-19 hit the globe.

Khan also lauded the efforts of the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) for its efforts to contain the crisis. “Pakistan coped with the coronavirus [well], while our neighbouring countries including India and Iran were badly affected by it. The Economist magazine in its report ranked Pakistan among the nations that not only saved its people but also the economy from the impacts of Covid-19,” he recalled.

The prime minister said it was another big success of his government for which they deserved all credit. It was the effective governance that helped steer Pakistan out of the challenge, he added.

He said the government would have to take steps to control imports. He also viewed the practice of money laundering as another challenge for developing nations.

Referring to the UN fact-finding report, he said about $1,000 billion had been laundered from the poor countries.

He expressed the confidence that in the second phase of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the two governments would focus on the agriculture sector.

He also stressed that they would have to learn from the urban planning techniques of China. He said the rapid urbanisation brought with it two issues concerning food security and environmental pollution, citing examples of cities of Islamabad and Lahore where the population has been explosive.

He said they would have to focus on the vertical development of the mega cities and learn and seek expertise from China which saved its cultivable land with a remarkable urban planning.

The prime minister, on the occasion, formally performed the launch of the forum and witnessed the exchange of documents ceremony between the concerned authorities of the two countries.

Ambassador Rong said that CPEC would be a game-changer for Pakistan, bringing unprecedented progress and prosperity to the country.

The second phase of CPEC would focus on industrial and social cooperation. Through this forum, companies from Pakistan and China both would be able to enhance cooperation and ties.

The ambassador said the economic trade between the two countries had witnessed 61 percent increase during last year while direct investment from China to Pakistan also increased on a year-on-year basis.

He said various development projects under CPEC were underway including special economic zones and Gwadar free zone. The ambassador said China was working closely with Pakistan to achieve the shared targets aimed at building future cooperation.

Speaking on the occasion, the BoI chairman and its deputy secretary said the forum would go a long way in cementing the joint bilateral industrial ventures and cooperation and would provide a conducive environment for local and foreign investment.

They said the concerted efforts were ensured by the government to promote these bilateral relations.

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