Country moving towards economic turnaround, stability: PM

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Islamabad—Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said that an economic turn around is taking place and the country is moving fast towards stability. He was addressing a ceremony held in Islamabad this afternoon to distribute cheques of tax refund to exporters. The Prime Minister said terrorism is dying down and complete peace would soon be restored in the country. He pointed out that peace in the country and especially in Karachi would help boost economic activities and attract investment in different sectors of the economy.
Mian Nawaz Sharif said the Government has embarked upon a comprehensive programme to ensure not only sustained availability of electricity for industrial, agricultural and domestic consumers but also on cheaper rates. He said after many years, industry is getting uninterrupted power for 24 hours. The Prime Minister said it is for the first time in seventy years that serious and practical measures are being undertaken to generate electricity from Thar coal. He said greater dependence on Thar coal would also lead to reduction in overall generation cost. He said cheaper availability of power means lesser cost of production and this would make Pakistani products competitive in the international market. Mian Nawaz Sharif recalled that PML(N) started consultations even before assuming power on how to address the crippling power crisis. He said soon after assuming power, CPEC agreement was signed with China under which a number of power plants are envisaged.
The Prime Minister said electricity load-shedding is at the lowest level this summer season and soon there would be zero load-shedding. He expressed the confidence that 2018 would be load-shedding free year. He said three LNG based projects are also in advance stages of completion and they would start generating 3600 MW of electricity next year. He said the country effected saving of 100 billion rupees in these three projects as no kickbacks and corruption was involved. Mian Nawaz Sharif said a programme of solar tubewells has been initiated for Balochistan to provide relief to farmers of the province. He said completion of TAPI gas project would help overcome gas shortages in the country. The Prime Minister said works is also in hand on a number of roads, highways and motorways. He said this network would link Gwadar to Khunjerab and Karachi to Lahore. He said finances are being arranged for Hyderabad-Sukkur motorway, work on which would begin soon. He said work on Sukkur-Lahore six-lane motorway has already begun. He said Gwadar would also be linked with Quetta and KPK. He said six-lane Hazara motorway would be completed next year while Mansehra-Khunjerab section would take two and a half years to complete.
The Prime Minister asked his economic team to achieve at least six percent GDP growth rate if not seven percent by 2018. He said 2018 general elections would make it clear who excelled in governance. He said PML(N) accepted mandate of other parties and those repeatedly indulging in the politics of allegations should also accept mandate of others. The Prime Minister said the process of refund of sales tax would be completed by 15th of October this year. Addressing the ceremony, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said that under the visionary leadership of the Prime Minister, the country has been put on positive trajectory and efforts will continue to exploit its true potential.
He said that incentives are being given to the business community to enhance the country’s exports. He said as per the promise, five major export sectors have been exempted from taxes while the payment of sales tax refunds to exporters has also been started. He said that today refunds of over 21. 44 billion rupees are being made to the exporters and cheques in this regard will be sent to the companies via courier service. He said that in the next round of refunds, the transaction will be made directly into the bank accounts of the exporters with the aim to bring transparency in all matters.
Ishaq Dar said that directions have been issues to the FBR to issue the tax directory of the parliamentarians by 31st of this month. Special Assistant Haroon Akhtar, in his remarks, on the occasion said the government has taken steps to broaden the tax net. He said there are clear directions to the FBR not to spare the tax evaders. This is because of the commitment of the government that it crossed the tax revenue target during the last fiscal year. Haroon Akhtar said that Pakistan has made major strides on economic and law and order fronts over the last three years. Inflation has been reduced to the lowest level while the country’s foreign exchange reserves have also touched the highest marks. He said the economic performance is also being appreciated by several world financial institutions. —INP

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