Punjab Governor Ch Muhammad Sarwar has said that the government is striving to revive the country’s economy, which is the topmost priority right now.
Talking to a delegation of Pakistan Industrial and Traders Associations Front led by its chairman Mian Nauman Kabir, the governor said the government was taking all steps to ensure a business and investment-friendly environment as it was imperative for economic progress and prosperity of the country.
He said the government was aware of the problems being faced by the trade and industrial sectors, and was undertaking every possible measure to provide a level-playing field to the business community.
The government was also striving to reduce the cost of doing business by ensuring supply of energy at concessional tariff for export-oriented industry, he added.
Ch Sarwar appreciated the role being played by the private sector, particularly the PIAF, in the country’s economic development. He said at present, tough economic conditions called for taking difficult decisions but the government was committed to improve the economy.
He urged industrialists to focus on export-oriented products as an increase in exports was essential for economic stability. He said the country had been facing numerous challenges for the past few years, which also affected the business community across the country.
He appreciated the services rendered by the business community for the country’s development and voiced hope that they would continue to play a proactive role in order to further uplift the economy.
The PIAF Chairman Mian Nauman Kabir, along with his delegation, apprised the governor of the functioning of industrial estates in Lahore and gave recommendations for improving their structure and overall business environment in the country. In response, the governor assured the delegation of his full support.
He sought support of governor for uplift of social security dispensaries for workers and start of public transport routes in industrial estates etc.
He appreciated the governor effort for GSP Plus status from EU for Pakistan, which resulted in doubling of Pakistan’s exports to EU countries from 3.6 billion in 2008 to 6.8b in 2018. He welcomed Pakistan better performance in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index, saying the global ranking can further be improved by removing several bureaucratic hurdles in various provincial government departments, which should have facilitated the manufacturers, but they are actually discouraging industries.
Mian Nauman Kabir said that various provincial departments including Employees’ Old-Age Benefits Institution (EOBI), Social Security, Women Welfare, Environment Department should have to facilitate the manufacturers and exporters in a better way. “We request for easy process in the contribution of EOBI, Social Security etc.”
“Punjab government should stop the officials of Environment Department from unduly harassing the businessmen by repeatedly visiting their business premises.”
PIAF can understand the importance of clean and neat environment and is ready to play its role. “We urge the government to collaborate with private sector in funding and developing infrastructure for wastewater treatment, as it is expansive for the industry which is already uncompetitive in global market due to high cost of production.
He also sought governor’s help in rationalizing water charges by WASA, asking it to review its decision for fixing water charges on monthly basis for industrial sector which is being charged in Lahore at Rs100,000/month while this rate is different in Faisalabad and Gujranwala.