2021 to be year of growth for Pakistan: PM Imran

Imran performs ground breaking of automobile manufacturing and assembly unit


Our Correspondent January 01, 2021

ISLAMABAD:

Prime Minister Imran Khan promised on Friday the new year would the year of economic growth as he backed the Chinese model for the development of the country and pulling people out of poverty in a short span of time.

The prime minister performed the ground-breaking of a $100 million automobile manufacturing and assembly unit that besides the regular models would also produce electric vehicles. As investment from China, the MG Motors company will start local production in Pakistan by mid-2021.

Stressing that the country was already moving in the right direction, Imran told the ceremony that essential industries had increased productivity. [Year] 2021 will be a year of economic growth,” the prime declared.

Giving examples of the construction and the textile sectors, Imran said increase in cement sales was a clear sign that “construction activity is on the rise”, adding: “The textile industry too is producing at full capacity for the first time in many years that even resulted in a shortage of labour in the sector.”

“The government’s policy for the new year is very simple,” he said. “We have to make business-friendly policies. We have to help our industry that has been previously neglected and have to incentivise it. The wealth that will be subsequently generated will be used to eradicate poverty.”

Imran hailed China as Pakistan’s biggest ally in industrialisation, saying that China was supporting Pakistan in achieving its goals of economic prosperity through industrial development. “Pakistan can learn a great deal from China, as its economic model the best suited to us,” he said.

“China developed its industry, established economic trade zones and attracted foreign investment to generate wealth, which it ultimately spent on poverty alleviation,” he said. “Pakistan is also pursuing a similar vision, in which the real development is the uplift of the poor.”

Imran regretted that no government had tried to boost exports in the past 50 years. “This is why we have to go to International Monetary Fund – when our imports outweigh exports and create a current account deficit.”

He expressed his desire that the Chinese industry was re-located to Pakistan, from where the products could be exported. He said Pakistan was also working with China in agriculture, particularly seed development and productivity increase.

“Pakistan will continue to carry out joint ventures with the Chinese companies in the future in all areas,” he said and mentioned that in the next phase of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), agriculture sector would figure prominently.

Referring to the MG vehicles in Pakistan, Imran said the ripple effects of the foreign direct investment would reach to the connected industries, and generate employment. In the first phase three SUVs would be launched – the MG-HS, MG-ZS 1.5 and a fully electric vehicle MG ZS EV.

 

New Year resolution

In a series of tweets on Friday, the first day of 2021, Imran mentioned that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government’s flagship Ehsaas Programme was effectively providing social security, while the health card scheme ensured proper medical access to the poor.

“One, universal health coverage to all our citizens. It has begun in KP & will soon [begin] n Punjab & GB,” Imran said in one of his tweets. “Two, we will start our most ambitious nationwide project "Koi Bhuka Na Soyay" (No one should sleep hungry in Pak[istan]). under Ehsaas prog[ramme].”

According to the prime minister, 2020 was a tough year for the government because of the coronavirus pandemic. However, he added that the country fared far better than many countries in the world.

“2020 was a tough year for us & for people across the world bec[ause] of Covid19. But by the grace of God we fared far better than most. We not only managed to protect our ppl [people] but also saved them from hunger. We are moving forward to making Pakistan a Welfare State,” he said.

“Our Ehsaas programme provides social security & our health card scheme provides the poor with proper medical access. My New Year resolution for 2021 is to complete two projects,” he said referring to universal health coverage to all our citizens, and ‘Koi Bhuka Na Soyay’ project.

In other tweets on the New Year, the prime minister congratulated exporters on a record growth of 18% in December 2020 as compared to the previous year. “Well done & keep up this trend,” he said on Twitter. He assured his full support for promotion of the export culture.

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