ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday said LNG agreement with Qatar was a breakthrough for Pakistan to become self-reliant to meet its energy needs.
Speaking to delegation of leading businessmen in Islamabad, the Prime Minister said: “LNG agreement is a milestone. Qatar would provide 100,000 Pakistanis with job opportunities.”
He said Pakistan was facing national security, energy and economic challenges and was close to becoming defaulter when his government assumed power. “Government made difficult and important decisions for economic progress,” he said.
Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif termed the recent LNG Agreement with Qatar as a breakthrough for Pakistan’s self sufficiency in energy.
The recent landmark LNG Agreement, that has been signed with the Government of Qatar with complete transparency at a very low price, will not only cater for the CNG Sector, industrial, commercial and domestic consumers but will also help in reinvigorating country’s non-efficient power generation plants into high efficiency low cost power plants, the Prime Minister stated.
The Prime Minister informed the meeting that the Qatari leadership has immense love and affection for Pakistani diaspora.
After witnessing the JF-17 Thunder and Super Mashaq show in Qatar earlier this week, they felt pride in the technological advancement and excellence of Pakistan’s defence production industry. The Prime Minister announced that the government of Qatar has decided to employ an additional one hundred thousand skilled Pakistanis in near future.
Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif informed them that when the present government came into power, the country was confronted with crisis in security, energy and the economy was virtually leading towards bankruptcy. However, the government took vital and bold decisions to improve the macro-economic situation in the country simultaneously with robust and positive initiatives to achieve macroeconomic stability, added the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister said that the government placed massive cuts on its non-development expenditures to create space for development spending. Energy sector was put on priority to generate 10,000 MWs of affordable electricity till 2018 that would lead to end of load-shedding and reduction in cost of electricity.
The participants lauded the leadership of the Prime Minister for achieving macroeconomic stability and economic turnaround after significant improvements through prudent economic policies, efficient and transparent management and deployment of available resources, massive impact through project finance and investments of over 46 billion US $ through CPEC and improvements in the overall security situation of the country during the last two and a half years. The confidence of the business community to invest in diverse economic fields has been reinforced through business friendly policies of the government, said the participants.
The participants briefed the Prime Minister about existing business environment in Pakistanand shared their proposals for achieving rapid growth in Pakistan’s economy. They particularly referred to reforms in Federal Board of Revenue in the backdrop of coercive and exploitative measures against businessmen in the past and appreciated government’s resolve for creating a conducive environment for tax payers.
The business leaders also requested the Prime Minister for zero rated sales tax regime for export sector to facilitate export led growth. The Prime Minister agreed to this proposal and directed for introducing the regime from 1st July, 2016. The participants also shared their proposals for encouraging youth in Pakistan through establishment of start-up businesses which is a rapidly growing phenomenon these days.
The Prime Minister constituted a committee to evaluate the proposals given by the participants for coming up with firm recommendations within next 10 days to reach at final decision.
Prime Minister appreciated the input of the businessmen and said that the private sector has a key role in Pakistan’s economic growth and he believes in broadening the tax base without harassing business community. Adversarial relations between tax machinery and tax payers must end in the best interest of the country, the Prime Minister said.
The meeting was also attended by Mr Shahbaz Sharif, CM Punjab, Mr Muhammad Ishaq Dar, Minister for Finance, Mr Ahsan Iqbal Minister for Planning and other senior officials of the government. NNI