Federal Minister for Planning, Development and
Reforms, Ahsan Iqbal on Monday announced to launch an economic long
march on August 11 on the occasion of the second anniversary of the
government’s Vision 2025 programme.
“We will not only present scorecard of our achievements during the last two years but also set our targets for next 10 years. The slogan of our economic long march will be “Lets work harder, better & smarter”, he said while addressing a press conference here. He said,” Our opponents talk about political long marches but the country needs a decade of stability & continuity in policies for sustainable economic development. In the past many times we rose but crash landed due to political crisis. This time we will not let anyone play with country’s future. Pakistan is rising and continues to rise. We are launching a campaign “I am Rising Pakistan” in which youth of Pakistan will participate. We invite every Pakistani to become symbol of rising Pakistan.
The Minister expressed the confidence that after 2018, the next government would continue to implement 10 years road?map initiated by the present government. He said, the country could not achieve economic prosperity unless it increased productivity, quality and innovation. About protest rallies announced by opposition parties, he said, these attempts would miserably fail as people were interested only in development and prosperity of the country.He pointed out that people of the country had supported policies of PM Nawaz Sharif in every election after 2013 whether local bodies, Cantonment Board, National and Provincial by?polls, Gilgit?Baltistan and Azad Kashmir elections and emphasized upon the opponents to respect peoples’ verdict. Ahsan Iqbal said, the entire nation was focussed on vision of progress and development being carried out under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. He said, the confidence of foreign investors has increased manifolds due to the policies of present government as reflected in latest survey of Overseas Investors Chamber.
The Minister highlighted there is no scandal against the government in last three years and transparency international had also expressed confidence in the policies of the government through improved ratings for Pakistan. He recalled, the Vision 2025 was announced two years ago after complete consultation with all the stakeholders while provinces were also taken on board to make the country a model economy.
Pakistan, he pointed out, was being termed as an emerging economy and all the leading & credible international organizations were viewing us a turned?around economy. He gave statistics regarding GDP growth which has increased from 3.7% to 4.7%, remittances have doubled to $20billion, Foreign reserves have swelled from $10 billion to record $23 billion while Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) index has rocketed from 12,000 to nearly 40,000. Aren’t these indicators of rising Pakistan? He questioned.
Those who project dooms day scenario about Pakistan are in fact horrified about their political future in 2018. Mr Imran Khan played warm up match in AJK and look at the
results. If he wishes to replay dharna in Pakistan the result will be
even more disastrous for him because people want stability and success
of projects started by PMLN government.
Ahsan Iqbal said, out of US$ 46 billion under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), projects worth more than US$ 10 billion had already hit the ground while remaining schemes were in advanced stages of the pipeline. Giving details of power production in next few years, he said, 3600 MW electricity would be produced through LNG, Under CPEC, 1320 mw by Port Qasim and 1320 mw by Sahiwal will also come in production next year, Chashma Nuclear Plants are also expected to add 600 mw. Jamshoro Power Project being completed by Asian Development Bank, would start producing 1320 MW by year 2018.Work was under progress on 2000 MW Thar project and 1320 MW HUBCO project which would be completed by the year 2018?19, he added. About infrastructure development, he said, Motorway from Havalian to Thakot and Multan?Sukkur of Lahore?Karachi Motorway was being completed at a fast pace.
On the Western route of the CPEC, Gawadar port will be linked with Quetta by end of this year opening enormous opportunities for Balochistan. The road from Burhan to DI Khan would be completed by June 2018, he said and added, the Gilgit?Baltistan will be developed as a model of environmental economy.He said, with the new PMLN government in Azad Kashmir, development of the area will speed up.
Ahsan Iqbal mentioned about the work on Dasu and Diamir?Bhasha dams and the generation of wind and renewable energy as well. He said, Pakistan Railways was being modernized with Rs.117 billion investment while the number of PIA aircrafts had been doubled.
Responding to a question, he said, unemployment was decreased from 6.24 percent in 2013 to present 5.94 percent, adding, while the country has witnessed reduction in poverty. However, due to energy crisis it couldn’t be faster. As energy situation improves, there will be more investment and jobs, which will help in fighting unemployment. He said, government has more than doubled allocation for Higher Education from Rs 100 billion to Rs 215 billion. Pakistan is becoming hotspot for IT entrepreneurship and start ups. He said, Rs.173 billion were allocated for improvement in the existing transmission and distribution systems to bear burden of increased electricity production in the next two years.