The dream of progress and prosperity cannot be realised without economic security, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said while talking to Canadian High Commissioner Greg Giokas on Tuesday.
Sharif said Pakistan’s economy was becoming stronger by the day as a result of the government’s economic policies and there were vast opportunities of investment in energy, livestock and agriculture.
The chief minister and the Canadian high commissioner also discussed bilateral relations. Sharif said the government’s priority was to end the energy crisis.
Sharif said several countries friendly to Pakistan were helping it set up power generation projects using traditional and alternative resources. He said the Nandipur Power Project near Gujranwala had been revived after a long hiatus under the previous federal government...its first turbine will start operating in two month. The project would be completed within the year, he said.
Giokas said Canada wanted to promote cooperation with Pakistan in energy and several other sectors. He also invited Sharif to visit Canada.
A delegation of China’s Shandong Ruyi Group also met the chief minister on Tuesday. They expressed an interest in investing in energy, mining and textile sectors in the province. The delegation included Ruyi Group Senior Vice President Jerry Liu, Executive President Arie Qiu, Vice President Li Aiying, Executive Director Zhang Liuzhang and Masood Textile Chief Executive Officer Shahid Nazir.
Sharif said that foreign investors had shown willingness to invest in Pakistan due to the government’s economic policies. He said the Punjab Minerals Department and the Shandong Ruyi Group had reached an agreement to set up two coal power plants in Salt Range...to produce up to 135MW. He said local coal would be used for the plants. He said the government was going to set up an “apparel park” and garment zones to promote the textile sector.
The chief minister said that the government was working on drafting comprehensive reforms to increase the tax to Gross Domestic Product ratio. Sharif met with the country head of McKinsey Pakistan, Salman Ahmad, on Tuesday. They discussed possibilities of cooperation in agriculture and livestock sectors.
Sharif acknowledged McKinsey’s experience and expertise as a consultancy in industrial, agriculture and mining sectors. The chief minister constituted a committee headed by Metro Bus Authority Managing Director Sibtain Fazl Haleem to oversee areas of cooperation between the Punjab government and McKinsey in agriculture, livestock and other revenue generating sectors. The committee and senior officials of McKinsey will develop a roadmap for this purpose.
Ahmad said that McKinsey wanted to promote cooperation with the Punjab government. He said that McKinsey wanted to open an office in Lahore.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 12th, 2014.
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