Govt committed to take economy towards export led growth: PM

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has reaffirmed the government’s commitment to take the economy towards export-led growth.
Speaking on the floor of the National Assembly on Wednesday, the prime minister said that initiatives in this regard are being taken in different sectors including agriculture, livestock and small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
The prime minister said that Rs60 billion have been allocated in the federal budget for the uplift of the agriculture sector. Tax exemptions worth Rs100 billion are also being given to enhance the productivity of this sector and ensure food security.
He said the Punjab government has launched Kisan Card Scheme under which the farmers will be registered to extend them facilitation. He said the small farmers will be given direct subsidy on inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides. He said that Kissan Markets will also be established so that the farmers get the due price of their produce.
He said that a livestock project envisages enhancing the milk production. He said the result of this project will be visible in the next two years.
The prime minister said the SME sector is being incentivised to generate economic activity and provide job opportunities to the youth. He appreciated his economic team for presenting a budget in accordance with his vision of establishing a welfare state.
He said that it is the first budget which contains the unprecedented allocations for social protection. The prime minister said that Rs500 billion have been earmarked to uplift four to five million weakest segments of the society. He said under this programme, interest free loans will be given to these households. Besides, they will be given health cards and technical training. He said these poor households will also be made part of the low-cost housing programme.
Khan said the health cards scheme will bring revolution in the health sector of the country. He said the private sector will be fully facilitated including through provision of land to them on low cost to build health facilities. He said, “We will allow duty free import of medical equipment.”
As regards Ehsaas programme, the prime minister said that 12 million deserving households will be given direct subsidy on purchase of essential commodities from the utility and general stores.
Prime Minister Khan invited the opposition parties to sit with the government for talks on electoral reforms. This, he said, is important for the future of democracy in the country. He said it has been his effort over the last two years to bring reforms so that the election results are acceptable to all. He said the Opposition has so far not responded to the reforms proposed by the government.
He stressed that the use of an electoral voting machine is important to check the irregularities that take place at the close of the voting process. He, however, said, “If the opposition has some other suggestions on electoral reforms, we are ready to listen to them.”
Alluding to the heavy human and material losses suffered by Pakistan in the war on terrorism, the prime minister regretted that these were not recognised in true sense at the international level. He also condemned drone attacks carried out by the US in tribal areas in the past.
The prime minister said the US has finally realised that there is no military solution to the Afghan conflict. He said the US has now given an exit date from Afghanistan and it is asking Pakistan to woo the Taliban for talks.
He said Pakistan has no leverage on the Taliban except that it can only ask them to hold negotiations to avoid civil war in their country. He said peace in Afghanistan is important for Pakistan to build economic linkages with the Central Asian states. He said, “We neither want any strategic depth nor do we have any favourites or parties in Afghanistan.”
Khan made it emphatically clear that Pakistan cannot be a partner in conflict but only will be a partner in peace with the United States. He also categorically stated that Pakistan will not make any compromise over its sovereignty for the sake of any other country.
Paying tribute to the immense sacrifices of oppressed Kashmiri people in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, the prime minister said the entire Pakistan stands by their Kashmiri brothers and sisters. He once again made it clear that diplomatic relations will not be restored with India until it rescinds the illegal steps of 5th August 2019.
The prime minister appealed to the people to honestly pay their taxes to take the country forward on the economic front. He said that a tax collection target of Rs5,800 billion has been set for the next fiscal year. This is a tough target but it will be achieved through reforms in the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) including its automation, he added. He said that wilful tax defaulters will be put into jail.
Commending the record remittances sent by the overseas Pakistanis, the prime minister asked them to make investments in different sectors of the economy. He said that obstacles in the way of their investments will be removed.
The prime minister said he has waged a struggle for rule of law in the country. He said bringing the powerful people under the ambit of law is important to exploit the country’s true potential.
The House was later prorogued.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan has felicitated Chinese President Xi Jinping and the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the CPC on the occasion of the centenary of the Communist Party of China.
In his message on Wednesday, the prime minister highlighted that the founding of the CPC was a seminal event with a far-reaching impact on world history.
Paying rich tribute to the CPC and its leadership, the prime minister highlighted that China’s liberation and its subsequent rise lay in sacrifices and endeavours of the Communist Party. He lauded the CPC’s efforts for the well-being of the Chinese people, particularly in the realm of poverty alleviation and socio-economic development.
He hoped that under the wise and dynamic leadership of President Xi Jinping, China would continue its march towards the ‘Great Rejuvenation’ of the Chinese Nation. He also appreciated the CPC’s role in the nurturing of Pakistan-China friendship.
Recalling that 2021 marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties, the prime minister expressed optimism that friendship between Pakistan and China would continue flourishing, as aspired by the leadership and peoples of the two countries. – TLTP

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