Ahsan urges local governments to follow SDGs

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ISLAMABAD, Jan 11 (APP): Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Ahsan Iqbal Wednesday urged local governments to come forward and take up SDGs as their development agenda.
Ahsan Iqbal was addressing the inaugural session of Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) on Chitral here.
The event was attended by local politicians of Chitral, diplomats and the PPAF officials.
The minister appreciated the initiative by the PPAF and the organizers and said this was setting the way forward for local governments in Pakistan that they should take responsibility for development of their districts and realize the vision for the country.
“The country is moving forward which gives us hope, confidence and energizes us to achieve our goals”, the minister said adding that “we want Pakistan to achieve seven per cent growth continuously”.
“We need to create 15 million jobs every year so that we can accommodate our youth”.
Minister said prime minister had a vision of regional connectivity.
“Now the time has come when we have to take geo-economic advantage to make Pakistan hub of business, trade, commerce and manufacturing for South Asia, China and Central Asia which has three billion population”, he added.
Ahsan Iqbal complemented the support of all the political parties and stakeholders in Pakistan Vision 2025 and said China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would transform Pakistan’s economy in future and make Pakistan an Asian tiger.
While talking about Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Framework, the minister said two routes i.e. Peshawar to Kabul, and Kabul to Central Asia and then, Quetta to Hairat and Hairat to Turkmenistan were being built.
“This is how we will integrate Pakistan with Central Asia. we are working on Chitral-Tajikistan connectivity to benefit entire region”, he added.
He also talked about Chitral Garam Chashma Road, Kalash Valley Road, Shandur Road Project, Wapda Power House, Electrification Project and Lawari Tunnel which was started in 70s and no government ever gave that much importance.
He appreciated that 70 percent of the funds were released in the government and ensured that this project would be completed in 2017.
He said another mega project to be completed in 2017 was hydro project which was there but not funded and this project would be completed on priority.
Talking about the projects announced by prime minister, the minister said the government was committed to set up university of Chitral in Chitral, prime minister health programme had been initiated and survey for LPG was also underway that would also help to preserve the forestry in the region.
“Mobile towers are also put up to provide connectivity. These are billion rupees projects announced by the prime minister for the people of Chitral. We believe this is what you deserve to become a developed district and region”, the minister added.
Talking about challenges faced by SDGs, Ahsan Iqbal said “one major challenge is that our social foundations are not very strong; we have to take SDG as national priority. This is how we can participate to create strong social foundation to take Pakistan to top 10 economies by 2047”.