Lahore: Prime Minister Imran Khan unveiled an incentives package for the promotion of industrial sector with focus on attracting investment from the local and expatriate business community and strengthening the country's export-oriented industrial and manufacturing base.
Along with local businessmen, we are also inviting the Overseas Pakistani entrepreneurs to invest in the country's industrial sector. Besides the expatriates, the local businessmen in the joint venture will also enjoy five-year tax holiday with no questions, he said while addressing a ceremony, which was attended by a large number of businessmen and representatives of the chambers of commerce and industry.
The Prime Minister said that the government was doing all for the promotion of export-oriented industries – vital for the country's socioeconomic development and progress, including the measures to strengthen Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and revive the sick industrial units.
He said that there was a need to attract the 9 million Overseas Pakistanis, a precious asset for the country, to invest in their homeland by incentivizing and giving them confidence on the protection of their hard-earned capital.
Prime Minister Imran Khan while stressing on the importance of industrial and manufacturing sector for wealth creation and development of the country, said that countries cannot achieve progress only by producing wheat and vegetables.
He said that the policy of nationalization in 1970s, a socialist philosophy, changed the trajectory of growth and industrial development in Pakistan, which was moving on the right direction some 55 years back. He said it was the present government which decided to promote industries particularly the export-oriented industries.
The Prime Minister also mentioned the anti-wealth creation and anti-profit-making policies of subsequent governments as major hurdles in the way of required growth in industries in Pakistan, which led to major economic problems including the shortage of dollars and Current Account Deficit.
The Prime Minister referred to a graph-chart which he showed in his February 28 address to the nation and said Pakistan during the 2000-2020 period remained at the lowest in terms of growth in exports as compared to the countries including e Rwanda, Vietnam, India, China and Bangladesh.
Lacks of long-term planning, shortage of dollars, less or no growth in exports force the country to approach the International Monetary Fund (IMF), he remarked. The Prime Minister said that the present government's two-pronged industrial policy focused on the promotion of SMEs through improved regulations and ease of doing business; and the revival of sick industrial units.
Prime Minister Imran Khan pointed to his experience of dealing with the Overseas Pakistanis due to fundraising campaign for Shaukat Khanum hospital 30 years back and said among the 9 million expatriates, there were many successful professionals, businessmen and entrepreneurs.
He said the present government also took various measures including the setting of special courts and crackdown on plot mafias, to restore the confidence of expatriates, which was shattered due to illegal occupation of their plots.
The Prime Minister pointing towards the much less growth in Information Technology (IT) sector over the last many years due to lack of policies said that the present government was incentivizing IT sector, which had a lot of potential to take the country forward in terms of exports.
He said that as against India's US $ 140 billion annual IT exports, Pakistan was just hovering around $ 4 billion per annum, 70% growth achieved during the present government.
The Prime Minister said that since Pakistan stood second in the world in terms of young population, it was important to promote IT sector. For the first time, the present government came up with an IT policy, he added.
We are trying to get the country standing on its own feet, he said and remarked that one those countries, which achieve self-reliance and development, were able to make and pursue an independent foreign policy.
The Prime Minister in that respect mentioned the country's conflicting foreign policies during the Soviet attack on Afghanistan and then the US attack on Afghanistan after 9/11. We should not blame the United States for the disrespect but ourselves, he remarked.
Pointing to the lack of Pakistan's policy on exports, Imran Khan recalled his 20 years' back conversation with Malaysian leader Mahatir Muhammad, who told how his country, which used to produce only tin and rubber materials, achieved US $ 80 billion annual exports after he promoted the cottage industry and SMEs to produce electronic goods.
The Prime Minister said he considered SMEs as backbone of industry and his government was taking all possible measure for the promotion of SMEs and attracting the Overseas Pakistanis to invest in their country.