PM affirms resolve to expedite work on the CPEC projects

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has affirmed his government’s resolve to speed up high quality development of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects and make it a symbol of China-Pakistan friendship and close partnership.
The prime minister said this while talking to the Charge d’ Affaires of China Pang Chunxue who paid a courtesy call on him on Tuesday.
The prime minister underlined the importance of enhanced investment from China in industrialisation, agriculture, and digital technologies. He appreciated CPEC’s continued progress as the flagship project of President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative and its importance for economic development and prosperity of Pakistan.
While conveying his warm greetings and gratitude to the Chinese leadership, the prime minister recalled his many visits to China, during which, he had the pleasure and honour of meeting with President Xi who had taken a personal interest in promoting relations with Pakistan.
Recalling his close cooperation with China as chief minister of Punjab, Shehbaz Sharif reaffirmed the All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership between Pakistan and China as a cornerstone of Pakistan’s policy and factor for regional peace and stability. He underscored that friendship with China resides in the hearts of the people of Pakistan and China is Pakistan’s strongest friend and closest partner.
The prime minister affirmed his government’s commitment to further deepening the win-win economic cooperative partnership between the two countries.
The Charge d’ Affaires conveyed warm felicitations and good wishes of the Chinese government and leadership on the assumption of office by the prime minister. She emphasised that the Prime Minister was viewed as a strong and committed friend of China and enjoyed great respect and admiration in her country. She also lauded the Prime Minister’s contribution to promoting China-Pakistan Economic Cooperation during the years that he was Chief Minister of the Punjab province.
Earlier in the day, China congratulated Shehbaz Sharif on his election as the new prime minister of Pakistan and said it was looking forward to working with him to continue traditional friendship, deepen all-round cooperation and advance a high-quality building of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to build a closer China-Pakistan community with a shared future in new era.
“We congratulate Shebaz Sharif on his election as the prime minister of Pakistan,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, Zhao Lijian remarked in response to a question asked by APP.
He said that China and Pakistan were all weather strategic and comprehensive cooperation partners with rock solid and unbreakable relations.
“China looks forward to working together with the Pakistani side carrying on our traditional friendship, resolutely supporting each other, deepening cooperation in various areas, and building a high quality CPEC to build an even closer China-Pak community of shared future in the new era,” he added.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has directed to prepare suggestions and recommendations on an emergency basis to cope with the serious economic challenges confronting Pakistan.
These proposals will be formulated in consultation with all the stakeholders, including agriculture, industry, investment, banking, business and business communities, for which it has been decided to hold a summit in the next few days.
It has also been decided to reorganise the National Economic Council comprising impartial and leading economists. Shehbaz Sharif made these instructions, while chairing an emergency meeting of economists on Tuesday after formally assuming office of the Prime Minister.
He called for making comprehensive recommendations on policy options so that concrete steps can be taken. The prime minister also directed to formulate comprehensive proposals for providing relief to the people and controlling inflation.
In view of the challenging economic situation, he directed the setting of medium and long-term fiscal policies and also stressed the presentation of comprehensive policy options to overcome inflation. Sharif emphasised a reduction in prices of daily-use commodities and essential items, particularly during the month of Ramazan. He stressed the need for maintaining a balance between the national and public interests.
The secretary finance gave a briefing to the prime minister on the economic situation, revenues, budget deficit, and loans besides the overall national balance sheet.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said that the government will prepare a coordinated short-term and mid-term plan to reduce inflation in the country.
Talking to the media persons on Tuesday, the prime minister said that controlling price hike is the top most priority of his government.
Sharif said untiring efforts will be undertaken to address the multiple challenges facing the country, including high inflation, unemployment and poverty. He said facts about the economic condition of the country were presented before the nation through a press conference. However, he said, “We will work day and night to rebuild and revive the economy of the country.” He said experts will be consulted to put things right.
Sharif said about 1,800 points jump in one go in Pakistan Stock Exchange and regaining of rupee value against dollar by nine rupees in a day after his election as prime minister is a feel good factor that reflects sentiments of people.
He said pensioners have been provided relief through a ten percent raise in their pension. He said it is an encouraging development that representatives from the textile sector have positively responded to his appeal for a ten percent increase in the salary of employees drawing up to one hundred thousand rupees per month.
Responding to a question, the prime minister said merit will be upheld in his government.
To a question, the prime minister said electoral reforms are imperative for transparent and credible elections in the country.
Answering a question about NAB, he said during the last three and a half years, it was a one-sided process of sheer victimization in the name of accountability. He categorically stated we do not believe in victimisation. However, he said, law will take its course. – TLTP