Prime Minister Khan says difficult to increase country’s wealth without exports

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Prime Minister Imran Khan

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday bemoaned the fact that Pakistan had never paid attention to exports, claiming that increasing a country’s riches without them was impossible.

The Prime Minister was addressing during the groundbreaking of the Rashkai Special Economic Zone, which is being built as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

“If you aren’t increasing your exports, then the country’s wealth will never increase,” he lamented, adding that selling wheat and other products will not make Pakistan wealthy alone.

Pakistan could learn from China’s Special Economic Zones (SEZs), he remarked. Prime Minister called the Rashkai Special Economic Zone a “big opportunity,” urging officials to make it easier for businesses to conduct business there.

“The more hurdles you remove for investors, the more investors will arrive here [in Pakistan],” he said, adding that Pakistan had not been an “investor-friendly country”.

Investors are constantly lured by the potential of profit, he added, and this could not be achieved unless governments took efforts to assure ease of doing business.

Prime Minister said that his administration is concentrating its efforts on reducing barriers in the way of investors, and that Pakistan has the potential to become a “attractive destination” for investors.

The prime minister expressed his displeasure with the way Pakistani businessmen established firms in Bangladesh, Malaysia, and other nations. He attributed this phenomenon to Pakistan’s government’s failure to eliminate barriers to investment.

“We send them [investors] to this office or that office,” he said, lamenting how investors were not treated like VIPs. “The biggest VIP here should be the one who creates employment opportunities for others,” he added, as the audience erupted into applause.

When the PTI came to power a little over two years ago, the prime minister remembered how tough it was for his administration. Pakistan was on the verge of default, he remarked, adding that the first 1.5 years of his prime ministership were the most difficult of his life.

The coronavirus shut down companies throughout the globe during Pakistan’s economic recovery, according to the prime minister, and had a negative influence on many nations’ economy.

“We should raise our hands and profusely thank Allah,” he said, adding that Pakistan had not suffered the same fate as other countries had, where millions were unemployed and thousands had died.

He commended the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), noting that the think tank was keeping a close eye on the country’s coronavirus issue.

He lauded his government’s choice not to enforce a coronavirus quarantine, saying that the impoverished would have “died of hunger” and Pakistan “would have suffered a fate similar to India”.

He slammed the opposition, saying they were “shocked” to see the country’s economy suddenly improve.

“Let me remind them [Opposition] that I was the captain who introduced neutral umpires in cricket,” the prime minister said, adding that he would not give up easily in reforming the country.

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