Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday expressed satisfaction with the current state of the country's economy and said Pakistan maintained a current account surplus during the first six months of the fiscal year.
Addressing the inauguration ceremony of the Central Business District (CBD) Project in Lahore, Imran said economy was mismanaged by previous governments, adding that loans taken in the past put pressure on the value of rupee that led to inflation.
However, Imran said that now the exports were also increasing. “Our textile exports are also witnessing an increase and new industries are being set up across the country,” he told the ceremony after laying the foundation of the project.
The CBD, a commercial hub, aimed at ensuring ease-of-doing-business. In his speech, the prime minister praised Punjab Chief Minister Usman Bazdar for the progress made in the development projects across the province.
“The [CBD] project will serve as a business hub and will help in wealth generation. It has the potential to generate hundreds of billions in revenue,” Imran said. "With huge tenders involved, this project will witness a major take-off in short span of time and transform Lahore into a modern city.”
The prime minister sstressed that wealth generation projects were important to strengthen the economy, as they enabled the government to pay back the loans. “In the first phase, the CBD project would generate Rs1,300 billion, through which the government would collect Rs250 billion in taxes.”
On the occasion, the prime minister mentioned the new liquefied natural gas (LNG) agreement signed with Qatar. “LNG agreement has been signed between Pakistan and Qatar today,” Imran said. “I am very happy that this [deal] will benefit Pakistan to the tune of $300 million annually.”
Commenting on the issues facing the Punjab capital, the prime minister noted that Lahore was spreading very fast and suggested that the city should grow vertically, rather than horizontally. “Lahore is spreading, there will be a big problem of water [supply] here,” he added.
Stressing that the airport and the flying club should not be located within the city limits, he said that the federal government had earmarked a separate space for Walton Airport. “The Ravi City [project] and the Walton Airport project will generate wealth for Pakistan,” he said.
Imran further said that trees are being cut down and no one in the past had ever thought about plantation in the country. “Large forests in Pakistan are gone and forest lands are occupied. For the first time, we thought about a tree plantation campaign,” he said.
“The government launched the first tree-plantation campaign in the country and planted trees in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” Imran Khan said. On a personal note, he added: “I consider myself the greatest environmentalist in the history of Pakistan.”
Referring to the Ravi Urban Project, the prime minister said that the overseas Pakistanis had great interest in the project. “Overseas Pakistanis are investing in new housing societies. I have always said that the overseas Pakistanis are our biggest asset,” he said.
“In addition, for the first time in the country's history, an effort is being made to build houses for the salaried persons. Efforts are afoot that banks lend to the employees, who pay monthly instalments to get a house.”
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