ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that Pakistan is moving in the right direction with the policies aimed at bringing people out of poverty through wealth creation.
The Prime Minister said this on Friday while speaking at the launching ceremony of new vehicles being introduced in the country.
The Prime Minister said the government will incentivise the business community and the industrial sector that will lead to increasing exports. He said the wealth creation through exports will be used for uplift of the living standard of the ordinary people in the country.
Imran Khan said the government will focus on industrial development during the current year that will have a positive impact on economic growth. He said that the cement and textile sectors have recorded fast growth in the recent months. He said that 2021 will be the year of economic growth.
Giving an example of the construction sector, PM Imran Khan said an increase in cement sales was a clear sign that construction activity is on the rise. He said the textile industry too was producing at full capacity for the first time in many years, resulting in a “shortage of labour” in the sector.
The Prime Minister said his two major public welfare objectives during the current year are ensuring universal health coverage through the Health Card Scheme and launching an initiative under the Ehsaas Programme to make sure that no one goes to bed hungry.
Describing the Chinese model of development as the most suitable model for Pakistan, the Prime Minister said Pakistan desires to learn from China in industrial development and agriculture. The Prime Minister said that the next phase of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would lay emphasis on the agricultural sector. He regretted that the previous government had ignored the sector. “Pakistan is an agricultural country,” he stressed.
He said the government is working with the Chinese officials on increasing agricultural products and using their methods. “The next phase of the CPEC includes boosting the agricultural sector.”
The Premier once again admired China for its strategies and asserted that the Chinese model of development suits Pakistan’s needs the best. “If we can learn from any one country in the world, it is China. Their development model suits Pakistan the best,” he said. “The speed with which China developed in the last 30 years is something we can learn from.” He added that Beijing had managed to prove that poverty alleviation is true development.
The Premier said that the government is keen on the relocation of Chinese industries to Pakistan “just like Vietnam”. “For this purpose, we have launched special economic zones (SEZs). Next, we aim to convince them to export from Pakistan.”
The Prime Minister said the government has dealt with the Covid-19 challenge in an effective manager. He said that Pakistan is among the few countries, which have been appreciated by the WHO for better handling the pandemic. He said, “We followed the policy of saving lives as well as the livelihood of people.”
Meanwhile in a series of tweets on Friday, Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that the government is moving forward to make Pakistan a welfare state.
He said, “Our Ehsaas Programme provides social security and our health card scheme provides the poor with proper medical access.”
The Prime Minister said, “My New Year resolution for 2021 is to complete two projects. One, universal health coverage to all our citizens. It has begun in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and will soon be launched in Punjab and Gilgit-Baltistan. We hope other provinces will replicate this programme. Second, we will also start our most ambitious nationwide project “Koi Bhuka Na Soye” under Ehsaas Programme.”
He maintained that by the end of the year, these two projects will move the government closer to its goal of making Pakistan a welfare state.
About 2020, the Prime Minister said, “It was a tough year for us and for people across the world because of Covid-19. But by the grace of God, we fared far better than the most.” He added, “We not only managed to protect our people but also saved them from hunger.”
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday said that his remarks that he was not prepared to take charge of the government were taken out of context as he meant that no one could understand regarding the internal working of the institutions while sitting outside.
In an interview with a local television, the Prime Minister negated the impression that he wasn’t ready and said that he cited an example of the US president, who is briefed by the national institutions two months ahead of assuming his powers. “Now when Joe Biden will take charge as US President, he will have complete knowledge of the systems in place,” he said adding he talked about that sort of a briefing, which was quoted out of context.
The Prime Minister expressed the belief that he will be successful in improving common people’s lives on the completion of his five-year term in office. He expressed the hope that good time will come.
The Prime Minister said that half of the tax revenue of the country is spent on repaying the debts and when they assumed power, the country’s fiscal deficit had reached US$20 billion. “During the first 60 years, Pakistan’s debt stood at US$6 billion which jumped to US$30 billion during the next 10 years,” he said.
Imran Khan rejected any differences within the coalition partners in the federal government and said that he enjoys a good relationship with MQM-P, PML-Q and GDA.
He lamented that the entire politics of the opposition parties revolves around the bid to get an NRO; however, he would not compromise on the matter. “If I’ll join hands with them then who will make them accountable for their wrongdoings,” he said.
The Prime Minister said that the opposition had given deadlines for overturning their government multiple times. “Even when Covid-19 hit the country, Shehbaz Sharif came back from London to put pressure on the government,” Imran Khan said adding that their attempts against him have failed in the past and will face the same fate in the future.
“I am the prime minister of a common man, not the elite class,” he said, adding that it was due to the trust reposed on him by the masses that the country has witnessed a record surge in remittances and exports.
To a question regarding frequent changes in his team, Imran Khan said that he reshuffles his team frequently to find a suitable man for a position and further warned that action would be taken against any of his ministers if an allegation of corruption is proved against them.
Answering a question, Imran Khan said he will not compromise his ideology of curbing corruption from the country. He said no nation can progress if its Prime Minister and ministers become involved in corruption.
Separately, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday inaugurated a Panagah (shelter) at Tarnol area of the federal capital to provide free of charge food and shelter to down-and-out people.
Accompanied by Special Assistant to PM on Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar, Managing Director Pakistan Baitul Mal and Senator Faisal Javed, the Prime Minister cut the ribbon to formally open up the facility.
The Premier spent the first evening of the New Year with the poor people at the facility. He joined the beneficiaries over the dinner and interacted with them. He questioned them about the condition of their livelihood and assured them that consequent to the government’s economic policies, the employment opportunities would enhance in the near future.
The Panagah initiative is very close to the prime minister’s heart which was launched at the very beginning of his term in the office. This is the fifth such facility in the federal capital being run according to the defined standards to ensure quality and serve the poor people with dignity. The 100-bed facility had been established with the collaboration between PBM and Turkish cultural ministry. At the Panagah, 10 beds had been specified for the women. – TLTP

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