Sit-ins halting economic progress, says Iqbal

Friday, November 21st, 2014 3:27:19 by



LAHORE: Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal has said that the upcoming sit-in on November 30 might again hamper the flow of foreign investment.

Addressing the inaugural session of the South Asia Conclave, he said the previous sit-ins by Pakistan Tehreek-e-insaf and Pakistan Awami Tehreek resulted in the postponement of the Chinese presidents’ visit.

“We are still trying our best to revive the economy and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharf’s recent visit to China is its proof. Foreign Direct Investment from China can be used to bridge the gaps between the energy sector and the economy,” said Iqbal.

“The Gwadar port and trade corridor will open an era of prosperity in the country, and in the region, “he added.

Iqbal stressed the need for investment in the social sector and manpower to bring the country at par with developed states.

He said Pakistan should invest in its human resource like developed countries for skilled man power. The sector has remained ignorant since ages and needs an urgent uplift.

Iqbal further said that Pakistan is also lagging behind in health, education and other social sectors.  “Unfortunately, the country has been under multiple, martial law regimes during which health, education and other social sectors were ignored. As a result, masses are still suffering.”

Privatisation Commission Chairman Mohammad Zubair said that tough decision would have to be made to revive economy on a sustainable basis.

“The problem with our system is that we think that only we know the problem and its solution and that we alone have the ability to correct the mistakes. However, we are part of a democracy and we should be able to accept opinions and solutions of others, if we want to progress and keep up with the world,” he said.

He said in order to get the economy back on track and reviving state-owned enterprises, long-term strategies have to be made, particularly in the energy and tax collection sectors.

Talking about the government’s privatisation policy, Zubair said the government has a clear-cut plan to enter into strategic partnerships with private sector parties, having the financial strength and management capacity. He said that the government will keep majority shares of all state-owned enterprisers that will be privatised.

“There is no plan to sell any state unit completely,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 21st, 2014.

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