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SEZs to be set up in every district: minister

By Our Correspondent
March 11, 2021

LAHORE:The Punjab government will establish Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in every district of the province. A policy for the establishment of Women SME will be introduced soon.

These views were expressed by Minister for Industries, Commerce and Investment Mian Aslam Iqbal while addressing a public-private dialogue arranged by the Punjab Board of Investment and Trade to address the impediments faced by exporters.

Finance Minister Hashim Jawan Bakht, Special Assistant to CM on Business, Investment & Trade Sardar Tanveer Ilyas Khan, Chief Executive Officer PBIT Dr Erfa Iqbal, representatives from prominent chambers of the province, business community, govt departments including State Bank of Pakistan, FBR, TDAP, Income Tax and a large number of exporters attended the dialogue.

Dr Erfa Iqbal welcomed the participants and said that the significance of the exporting sector in Pakistan’s economy can hardly be debated.

“Increase in exports is vital to improve a country’s trade balance and balance of payments. Punjab Board of Investment & Trade (PBIT) convened this public-private dialogue, bringing together notable stakeholders to prepare an action plan with a view to boosting exports of the country. The meeting thoroughly held deliberations on the various issues faced by exporters and suggested a number of proposals for their amicable resolution. Participants expressed that to meet the needs of the rapidly growing population of Pakistan, policymakers must contend with the numerous issues that impede the economy, and reassess past strategies for development, that have not yet borne results. As we pass through an era of unprecedented change and complexity, it is imperative that we refresh our framework for national development. We believe that once effectively addressed our challenges likewise offer unprecedented opportunities for transformational progress,” the speakers said at the meeting.

Minister Mian Aslam Iqbal while talking to the participants said that today the national planning process is more participatory, collaborative, people and market-oriented. The minister assured participants that their suggestions are well noted and will be discussed in the pre-budget sessions to develop a better economic strategy for economic progress and financial independence.

He directed the related officials from various departments to note down the issues and suggestions of participants to deliberate upon during the budget sessions. He disclosed that the Punjab government will establish special economic zones in every district of the province to expedite the industrialisation, which would ultimately provide youth with immense employment opportunities and stabilise the economy in the long run.

Finance Minister Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakht said that plans succeed when they manifest the aspirations of a nation, empower the citizens, and especially the private sector, to play their respective roles, provide equal equitable opportunities to all and assign a very well-defined role to government as a supporter, facilitator, regulator and performance-driven service provider.

He said that the banking sector is the backbone of business development. We have derived a strategy to restore all dry-ports in Punjab and good news in this regard is on the cards. A proposal for the payment of interest on subsidy to banks is already made, while revolutionary steps for the agricultural transformation are going to be introduced in the upcoming budget, the minister said.

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