Federal Minister for Water Resources Syed Khurshid Ahmad Shah said on Saturday that all possible efforts were being made to increase water storage capacity in the country.
Talking to the business community here at Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI), he said, “We were planning to increase agricultural production to enhance our export, but the floods dealt a serious blow to the national economy.” He said that water capacity of Pakistan was 140 million acre feet, but the storage capacity was only 13 million acre feet.
The federal minister said that infrastructure was being built, which would increase the storage capacity by 14 to 15 million acre feet. He said that 80 per cent of Pakistan’s economy was related to agriculture, but the vital sector had been ignored for long. He said that unfortunately, the country’s rainwater worth US$10-15 billion was wasted every year and “we look to the world for US$2 billion aid”.
Khurshid Shah said, “We had realised today’s situation four or five years ago, and the opposition had proposed a charter of economy to the then government, though it should have been asked to the opposition by the government.” He said that Pakistan was a rich and resourceful country. “If it is moved in the right direction, it could become self-reliant,” he added.
The minister informed the business community that the parliament pass 30 legislations in a single day for welfare of masses, which was a record.
The minister said that 50-60 years ago, rupee and dollar were almost equal, but today there was a huge difference, adding that appropriate and durable measures were needed to cope with dollar flight against rupee.
He said that in 1994-95, an agreement was signed to produce cheap electricity from coal, but it was terminated as soon as the government changed.
He said that the LCCI efforts for the flood affected people were commendable. He said that the business community had played a leading role in the developed economies.—APP