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Prime Minister address Sialkot chamber of Commerce & Industry

Lahore : Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi Monday said a country can only progress if there was political stability and continuity of policies and said Pakistan Muslim League-N has the honour of accomplishing those tasks that were abandoned by the previous governments.

Addressing a gathering here at the Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry on his day-long visit to the industrial city, the Prime Minister said “we have put the country on the path of progress and prosperity and InshAllah it will continue.”

Abbasi said the PML-N has taken the country forward on path of progress and prosperity owing to the dynamic vision and policies of Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and said the economic situation of the country today was far better than what it was in 2013. He reiterated that the country’s GDP was destined to rise to 6 per cent and pointed out that had there been no sit-ins and politics of protests and allegations, the economic situation of country would have been far better today.

He said the PML-N has put good governance in practice and accomplished tasks that were deemed impossible by previous governments. In this regard, he mentioned the energy crisis that plagued the country in the past and said today both electricity and gas were in abundance in the country. He said if the government continues to pursue the policies of Nawaz Sharif, all ills of the country would end.

He said efforts were underway to lessen the cost of gas and electricity besides improving their availability and pointed out that the Council of Common Interest would discuss the issue and take steps in this regard.

He said the previous PML-N government had completed over 500 km of motorway, while work was underway on different sections of 1800 km long road sections, which, he said was unprecedented in the country. He mentioned the Rs 150 billion projects by the National Highways Authority in the area and said it would transform the entire communication infrastructure of the country, lessen distances, speed up economic growth and boost trade and industry.

Abbasi said the government has a long list of development projects that were underway and said since he assumed his office, he has been inaugurating a project every week.

The Prime Minister lauded the Sialkot businessmen for meeting international standards, improving quality and enhancing exports, besides improving their city. He said businessmen from other cities need to emulate them and learn from their experiences.

The Prime Minister said the country should aim for over US 50 billion exports, as US 20-22 billion was not enough for a dynamic country like Pakistan and asked the business community to make more efforts in boosting exports.

He recalled the serious threat of terrorism that had once bogged down Pakistan and said the situation on this front too was far better and the last remnants of terrorists were now on the run. He said Pakistan has been spending huge resources on fighting extremism and terrorism and the business environment today was very conducive for local and foreign investors in all spheres.

He said the people of Pakistan were on the right to ask the previous governments; before 2013 that what has been their output. He mentioned the stalled projects of Neelum Jhelum, Kacchi Canal that irrigates Balochistan after traversing for 350 kms from Punjab, Lowari Tunnel, Gwadar Port etc and said though at all these projects were dotted with numerous inaugural plaques by previous heads of states and governments, but regretted that no one was able to complete these on time and said the PML-N had the honour of completing these.

He regretted the dismal low number of income tax filers in the country and said there was an urgent need to boost it up on urgent basis.  He said the government was working to make tax filing easier, widen its scope, besides simplifying the procedures.

He said Advisor on Finance Miftah Ismail has been tasked to look into the issues raised by the business community of Sialkot and assured that the issue of Sales Tax refund would be expedited on urgent basis. He said State Bank has also been asked to plug the loopholes and make it easy for businessmen.

Referring to the demands raised by the business community, he said the PML-N government was working to have a university in every District as it believed that the countries that do not invest in imparting quality education, would lag behind. He also urged the private sector to play their part in this regard.

He said Pakistan was lagging behind in knowledge economy and there was a need to make further efforts. He said the PML-N government was the only one that allocated Rs 100 billion to the Higher Education Commission.

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