Ban on luxury goods import to save $4b: Shehbaz

Proposes CPEC to be a trilateral arrangement between China, Pakistan and Turkey

KARACHI/ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday depended his governmet decsion to ban import of luxury and non-essential items, cliaming that the ban will not only help save $4 billion but also support the local industry.

“One thing is very much clear that objective behind the ban on import of luxury item – for a specific time – is to save foreign exchange and bring stability,” the prime minister went on to say and added that this strict step will held save the country $4 billion, which is like earning $4 billion.”

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Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif was addressing business community members and representatives during his visit to Karachi.

Shehbaz said the import ban would support the local industry, underining the need for capping prices of those items under a certain formula.

The prime minister sought business community suggestions to tackle the prevailing economic situation.

Drawing a comparison, PM Shehbaz infromed that in 2018, the dollar rate stood at Rs 115, which jumped to Rs 189 during three and a half years of the previous government.

“When I assumed office of the prime minister, dollar was at Rs 189 and this Rs60-65 rise is not our fault,” he remarked.

He claimed that having perceived no-confidence motion success, the previous PTI government reduced the POL prices although the country was faced with huge debt burden.

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“The ousted government neither provided relief to the common man in sugar, flour or edible oil, nor executed any agriculture or public welfare project with serious intention.”

PM Shehbaz said despite unprecedented support from a national institution, the previous government could not perform, and recalled the mega projects executed during the PML-N government, including CPEC, end to load-shedding, and installation of wind, solar, and LNG power plants.

He said the nation wanted to know as to where the huge loans were spent and whether the excessive load-shedding was due to political chaos or corruption.

The prime minister said tht though, being a nuclear power, Pakistan was capable to foil any ill-intention against it, the country lagged behind India in the field of information technology which rose to a $200 billion export market contrary to $1.5 billion of Pakistan.

However, he said he had asked the ministries concerned to take the IT exports to $15 billion by empowering youth.

Coming to the issues faced by the Karachi city, the prime minister said an investment of $1 billion by Saudi Arabia was ready, which could be used to address the problem of water supply by installing a desalination plant.

Meanwhile Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday directed the authorities concerned to benefit from Turkish expertise and experience in all possible avenues.

The prime minister, in delegation level talks with Turkish Minister of National Defence Hulusi Akar, extended his heart-felt gratitude to the government and the people of Turkey for their strong commitment in helping Pakistan develop robust institutions like Karachi Shipyard, which has been transformed into a profit-earning organization over the years due to the Turkish support.

“Trade activates have the potential to increase manifold with the development of financial and industrial activities. The ongoing CPEC project is set to translate our desire to enhance regional connectivity and maximise trade […] with Gwadar at its focal point.

“I would like to avail this opportunity to propose that let this — CPEC — be a trilateral arrangement between China, Pakistan and Turkey and let us benefit from its wonderful potential to benefit our nations,” he said, assuring the participants that the government was committed to developing maritime infrastructure.

At the outset, PM Shehbaz began by lauding the launch of the warship built with the cooperation and collaboration of a Turkish company. He also appreciated the efforts of naval chief Admiral Muhammad Amjad Khan Niazi and Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar.

“This is yet another great example of cooperation between Pakistan and Turkey under [the] very able and dynamic leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is not only a great brother and friend but also a great supporter of Pakistan’s cause, and under his leadership our mutual fraternal relations have transformed into much higher heights than before.”

The premier went on to say that the people were witnessing the cooperation between the two countries in all fields, reiterating that relations could be further strengthened to benefit Pakistan and Turkey.

He highly appreciated the deep-rooted strategic cooperation between the two brotherly countries in all fields, including shipbuilding, engineering, solid waste management and transport.

The prime minister also thanked the government and the people of Turkey for their unwavering support to Pakistan’s stance on the Kashmir issue at all international fora.

Minister for Defence Production Israr Tarin, Minister for Water Resources Syed Khursheed Shah, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Amjad Khan Niazi, Special Assistant to the PM on Strategic and Political Communication Syed Fahad Hussain and other senior officers concerned also attended the meeting.

BUDGET 2022-23 TO BE PRESENTED ON JUNE 10

Prime Minister Shehbaz Shareef has announced to present the budget for the fiscal year 2022-23 in the National Assembly on June 10.

The Prime Minister’s office has issued a notification announcing that the budget for the fiscal year 2022-23 will be presented on June 10.

The budget, after passing from the NA, will be forwarded to the senate. The cabinet session to approve budget suggestions will also be held on June 10, 2022.

Earlier, rumours about the federal government planning to delay the National Assembly budget session as talks with International Monetary Fund (IMF) for the 7th Extended Fund Facility (EFF) program are underway were circulating.

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