Leading businessmen be made part of interim govt: LCCI

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LAHORE, May 23 (APP):Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI)
on Wednesday called for incorporating leading businessmen and experienced economists in the upcoming interim government to ensure economic integrity, because country’s economy was in a sensitive mode and interim government could not afford to run without a team of economic experts.
LCCI Malik Tahir Javaid expressed these views in a meeting with
a group of representatives of different industries here at Lahore
Chamber where LCCI Senior Vice President Khawaja Khawar Rashid and
Vice President Zeshan Khalil were also present.
Malik Tahir Javaid said that interim government, in near future,
would hold the reins of the system along with a bundle of economic challenges, therefore a team of experts consisting of leading businessmen and experienced economic experts was inevitable maintain the economy.
He added, “Only economically strong Pakistan can handle all sorts
of international pressures therefore war against economic ills should
be started instantly and a task force for economic revival, having representatives from both public and private sector, should be formed.”
He said that Pakistan was a resource-rich country and does not
need any external financial help. He said that economic weaknesses
of any country give opportunity of criticism to the others and same
is being happened in our case. He said that political instability,
below the mark foreign direct investment, high cost of doing business, politics on mega projects like Kalabagh dam and huge trade deficit have led to stagnant growth in Pakistan.
He said that Pakistan must have to address these issues through good economic
reforms. He said that Pakistan has all resources to become an economic giant but only
need is to set directions with zeal, courage and sincerity.
The LCCI president said that Pakistan’s huge mineral resources
could help get rid of the economic ills, particularly external debts
of over $ 91 billion, within next five years. He said that country
had one of the largest reserves of gold & copper and coal in the
world.
According to a rough estimate, value of coal reserves in Pakistan
is 187 times more than the GDP of Pakistan and only two percent of Pakistani coal reserves can generate 20,000 MW of electricity for almost 50 years.
In addition to gold, copper and coal, the country has vast reserves
of precious stones, gypsum, salt and marble but instead of taking full advantage of these God-gifted resources most of the share being exported in raw form. He said that these resources must be used by the state instead of giving contracts to the foreign companies for extraction.
They also called for new technologies and training of human resources
for the mining sectors.While strongly supporting the Kalabagh Dam, the LCCI president
said that this mega project should not be sacrificed to the political
wills as it has to play a major role in economic uplift of the country.
He said that Kalabagh Dam will store 6 millions acre feet of water and
will give benefit of $12 billion annually to the economy. He said that
KBD will produce 3600 MW or 31.5 billion watts of electricity that
would cost only Rs 2.50 per unit and country would be saving $ 4 billion annually in
account of electricity generation just after 5 years of KBD construction. He said that
government should not listen to the opponent
of KBD as they are opposing just of the Kalabagh dam, not of the India water aggression.
Malik Tahir Javaid said that most of Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs) are strangling the national exchequer by eating up around Rs 600 billion annually. Wastage of this hard-earned money of the taxpayers is a sheer injustice. He said that these PSEs should be turned into profitable by strict reforms.
He said that market and products diversification is the best method
to boost the exports. He said that Pakistani exports always remained dependent on a few items and countries. United States, China, Afghanistan, United Kingdom and Germany are top five trading partners of Pakistan while various lucrative destinations are still untouched. He said that Pakistani missions abroad should be given task to find out new destinations for Pakistani products. The government should also facilitate export-oriented industries by resolving their genuine
issues like delay in refunds etc.
The LCCI President said that tourism industry is one of the largest industries with direct or indirect economic contributions of over $ 7.5 trillion but this sector of Pakistan is not working as good as it should be. He said that Pakistan needs to market itself as tourism destination
as it is endowed with beautiful landscapes, sceneries, historical heritage and other attractive places for international tourists. He said that tourism industry of Pakistan has the potential to turn Pakistan into
a hub of economic activities and can give revenue of billions of dollars
to the national exchequer.
Khawaja Khawar Rashid and Zeshan Khalil said that keeping in view
the fast changing global scenario and challenges for Pakistan, government make immediate economic planning and its implementation in true sense of world is a must for self-reliance and to avert any serious challenge to the national sovereignty.