LAHORE: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday announced that Pakistan and Qatar had signed an LNG deal, saying that it will help the country save $300mn annually.
Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony of the Central Business District ceremony in Lahore, the prime minister said that his government had been trying to negotiate this deal for the past one year.
“When a difficult time comes upon the nation, a country has to think of ‘out-of-the-box’ solutions,” he said. “Pakistan went through a decade of darkness,” he added.
The prime minister had said Pakistan was facing a fiscal deficit due to which it was forced to take foreign loans due to which the country’s reserves declined and its currency lost its worth.
“These problems were inherited by this government,” he said, adding that the government cannot solve this problem until and unless it generates wealth.
Touching upon the LNG deal with Qatar, the prime minister said that he was proud to announce that Pakistan will save $300mn each year as a result of the deal.
“And in 10 years’ time, Pakistan will save $3bn,” he said.
Central business district, Ravi project to generate wealth in Pakistan
The prime minister hailed the Business District Project in Lahore, saying that these will generate wealth in the billions for Pakistan.
He said that it was time to stop Lahore from expanding horizontally, recalling that when he was a child, the city ended at Zaman Park.
“The first phase [of the Central Business District] project, the federal government will earn Rs250bn from taxes,” he said.
The prime minister said when the Walton airport is de-notified as per the project’s plan, tall buildings can be constructed in Gulberg and Ferozepur road.
“These areas can then become the economic hub for Lahore,” said the prime minister, lamenting that Lahore’s horizontal expansion had caused a mirage of problems of the city.
“The entire city’s sewerage is going in River Ravi,” he said. “This sewerage is going down the river. A lot of people drink water from the rivers,” he said, adding that even the water table of Lahore was declining.
PM Imran Khan said that as per estimates, Pakistan can generate Rs6,000bn in revenue from these commercial projects.
The prime minister seemed a bit annoyed when no one clapped at the announcement. “I think all of you sitting in the front have had a late night, because you seem to be asleep. No one clapped at the announcement that Rs6,000bn will be generated,” he said. “Aleem Khan, you should know about these things because you are in business.”
PM Imran Khan dispelled the impression that the project will be harmful for the environment. “I consider myself the biggest environmentalist of Pakistan,” he said. “[Before] no one even thought of planting trees in the history of Pakistan. It was us [KP government] which thought of planting trees in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.”
The prime minister said that not a single tree would be cut to make way for the project. “And even if a tree is brought down, we have equipment to relocate it to another place,” he added.