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PM stresses hard work for prosperity, says ‘witchcraft’ won’t help

PM stresses hard work for prosperity, says 'witchcraft' won't help

ISLAMABAD, MAY 25: Stressing the need for hard work and austerity to steer the cash-strapped country out of the economic crises, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Saturday remarked that “witchcraft” won’t help the nation.

The country’s chief executive, who came into power in March this year, made the remarks while addressing the apex committee of the Special Investment and Facilitation Council’s (SIFC) 10th meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office.

Addressing the civil-military forum established to attract foreign investment, the premier said that joint efforts were being made to resolve the country’s issues.

Briefing the participants about his recent visits to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, PM Shehbaz said that during the meetings leaders and delegations of other countries expressed their satisfaction with the performance of SIFC.

Referring to the alleged criticism over the body, the premier said: “Concerns were expressed when the SIFC took legal form.”

Over time, the forum silenced its critics with its achievements, he said, adding: “SIFC playing a key role in the development of Pakistan.”

The premier said that all the provincial governments repose trust in the SIFC, adding that they would achieve their goals through the forum.

Moving on to economic reforms, PM Shehbaz told the participants that a foreign firm had been hired for the digitalisation of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).

The premier said that the UAE pledged to invest $10 billion in Pakistan.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur, Punjab’s Maryam Nawaz, Sindh’s Murad Ali Shah and Balochistan’s Sarfraz Bugti were among the attendees of the meeting.

According to a statement from the PM’s Office, the SIFC meeting met with PM Shehbaz in the chair to review various initiatives and projects that fall under the forum.

Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Syed Asim Munir, chief ministers from all four provinces, members of the federal cabinet, and high-level officials attended the meeting.

“The participants of the meeting reviewed progress on economic cooperation with friendly countries.”

Speaking on the occasion, COAS Gen Munir assured the government of the army’s cooperation in their steps for economic prosperity in the country.

He also assured the military’s cooperation on the government’s initiatives for socio-economic welfare.

The statement further said that the forum also reaffirmed its determination to improve the environment for investment.

Matters related to privatisation of loss-making state-owned enterprises were also discussed in the meeting.

The forum expressed satisfaction with the ongoing privatisation process and stressed the need to complete the process in collaboration with concerned stakeholders.

During his interaction with journalists following the meeting, firebrand CM Gandapur said that he attended the huddle to represent his province.

“[I] will not compromise on the share of the province.”

The CM said that he put forth the concerns of his province before the forum, adding that he would perform his role for the betterment of his province and the country.

“People gave us mandate to fight for their rights.”

During the meeting, the CM said that he opposed the proposal to impose tax on the merged districts. He was of the view that they could increase revenue by reforms in the mining sector.

“I will go to any extent to give relief to the people.”

Responding to a question, the chief minister said that presenting budget was their constitutional right.

A day earlier, taking lead over the federal government as well as other three provinces, CM Gandapur-led KP government unveiled its maiden over Rs1.75 trillion budget for the fiscal year 2024-25.

On the other hand, Information Minister Attaullah Tarar told the journalist that the SIFC’s 10th meeting was held in a pleasant atmosphere.

Talking to journalists, the minister said that the huddle conveyed a message that the federation and the provinces were on the same page on national issues.

CM Gandapur acknowledged the importance of SIFC, he said, adding:” Ali Amin Gandapur said that he is not out of SIFC.”

Matters related to $10 billion from UAE, economy’s positive indicators and other issues were discussed in the meeting, he added. The premier had already clarified that their focus would be on investment instead of aid, Tarar said.

To a question, the information minister termed UAE’s $10 billion investment pledge “big effort” of the army chief.






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