Rs 52 billion to be generated through privatisation: Prime Minister
LAHORE (July 15 2008): Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani has said that privatisation of 16 units, which will be made in consultation with the workers unions of the respective organisations, will generate a revenue amounting to Rs 52 billion while 10 percent shares would be reserved for the workers.
Addressing the Lahore Chamber Award Ceremony organised by the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Monday evening, he said it is not the government's job to run industries but it is only for protecting them from crises and facilitating them. Punjab Governor, Salmaan Taseer and Punjab Senior Minister Raja Riaz Ahmad were also present on the occasion.
He said that many external and internal severe shocks including the deceleration of economic growth, rising inflation, particularly the food inflation, current account and trade deficits have badly hit the country's economy. However, the government is giving priority to expedite the industrialisation process to create job opportunities, he maintained.
The government is also working for the promotion of non-traditional sectors including gems and jewellery, granite, marble sectors to ensure fast track economy. Similarly efforts are being made to enhance country's exports, he added.
To address the energy crises, the government is exploiting all opportunities and zero-rated import has already been declared to induce investment in this sector. It is also awarding contracts to independent power producers so that energy issue could be resolved. Besides, one-window facility is also being provided at the Board of Investment, Gilani said.
The Prime Minister said the present government has also taken many steps for providing conducive environment, evolving business friendly policies, and concentrating on skill development so that 6-8 percent economic growth could be achieved.
He said the world class infrastructure facilities would be provided at different industrial parks like Korangi Industrial Estate on 250 acres of land, Bin Qasim Industrial Estate on 970 acres, and Auto Cluster Park Sheikhupura on 170 acres.
Responding to LCCI president demand for withdrawal of 10 percent Withholding Tax on electricity bills, he said that the Withholding Tax on electricity bills and cheques would not affect the businesses because these are to be adjusted in their tax returns at the end of year. However, it would help bringing non- documented economy into tax network.
About the textile sector, he said the Economic Co-ordination Committee in its upcoming meeting will review gas price for the textile sector and urged the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry to call off its strike. All the issues confronted by the textile and other industrial sectors would be redressed in the industrial policy.
Appreciating the LCCI role in promoting trade and industry in the country, he said it is an effective platform to provide bridge between the government and the business community.
Speaking on the occasion, the LCCI President Muhammad Ali Mian said the government needs to take solid measures including relaxation of taxes on export oriented industry, setting up of skill development institutions, the provision of infrastructure, availability of resources for exploring new markets and help the growth of SMEs to enhance country's exports.
He stressed the need for facilitating and strengthening industrial sector and urged the government to chalk out business friendly environment to attract foreign investment. The government should also start short-term and long-term projects of electricity generation especially hydroelectric and wind energy projects.
He urged the government to stop the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) from increasing the gas prices during the ongoing electricity shortage crisis. He asked the government to announce a relief package to save the textile industry that contributes 65 percent in exports and major source of employment. Pakistan cannot enhance exports unless it concentrates on non-traditional items, along with traditional export items.
The Trade Development Authority of Pakistan needs to take concrete measures for exploring new markets to introduce Pakistani products, he added. Later, Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani distributed Prime Minister Trophy, Businessmen Gold Medal, and awards among the winners.
Business Recorder [Pakistan's First Financial Daily]