On Friday, Prime Minister Imran Khan said the new year would be a year of economic development for Pakistan, adding that the country is already going in the right direction, with production growing for critical industries.
The Prime Minister, speaking at an event in Islamabad, said the building industry was already on its way up, which was obvious from the country’s increasing cement sales.
“When cement sales are increasing it is a clear sign that construction activity is on the rise,” he added.
For the first time in many years, PM Imran said the textile industry was “producing at capacity for the first time in many years” which he said had contributed to a shortage of labour in the field.
The premier said these signs showed that the world was in the right direction and that Pakistan was the only subcontinental nation that saw the “fastest recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic”
In contrast to our rivals, our exports are rising, so Pakistan is moving in the right direction.
He added that the agenda of the government for the new year was rather “simple”.
“We have to make policies that are business-friendly. We have to support our business, which has been ignored historically, and promote it. “The wealth that will be generated afterwards will be used to eradicate poverty,” he said.
The premier clarified that his two goals for the new year were to extend the universal health care policy of the government and to launch a new campaign to combat hunger.
He said that by the end of the year, he envisaged universal health care for Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan. “The health insurance card will enable each household to access medical treatment.” This is a big obstacle, because even wealthy countries do not have a structure like that.
PM Imran added that, under the government’s Ehsaas programme, he would introduce a new campaign to ensure that no one in the country sleeps hungry.
“We will use information technology and will identify areas where this is most prevalent and will involve the whole country, including non-government organisations.” He continued that at the end of the year, the software that is being built is most likely to be “unfolded”
These feelings were echoed by the prime minister after his address. “Last year was a tough year for us and for people across the world because of Covid-19. But by the grace of God we fared far better than most. We not only managed to protect our people, but also saved them from hunger.”Because of Covid-19, last year was a tough year for us and for people all over the world. But we fared much better than most by the grace of God. We not only managed to protect our people, but also rescued them from hunger.
My new 2021 rear resolutions are for two programmes to complete. Second, all our people have free health care. It began in KP and will begin in Punjab & GB soon. We hope this programme can be replicated by other provinces.
Two, under the Ehsaas scheme, we will launch our most ambitious national ‘Koi Bhuka Na Soyay’ programme. These two projects will get us closer to our aim of making Pakistan a welfare state by the end of the year.
‘China key ally for industrialisation’
PM Imran said at the beginning of his speech that if Pakistan were to move towards industrialization, then China was the biggest ally of the world.
“China is the country we can learn the most from because their development model suits us the best. Pakistan can learn the most from the way and the speed with which China has developed in the past 35 years.”
He said that the way they industrialised, established special export zones, brought in investments from abroad, and used those investments to increase their exports had all contributed to an increase in China’s wealth.
“They used that money to bring their population out of of poverty […] there is no other example of this in history.” He continued that the new government was based on making Pakistan a welfare state and eradicating poverty.
He added that in an attempt to lure and move Chinese factories so that they can export their goods from Pakistan, the government had made special economic zones.
Our main concern is that, in the past, we have not attempted to improve our exports. Why is it that we would go to the International Monetary Fund? We have to squeeze our economies because our exports are down and our imports are rising, which makes it tough for the average man.
Commenting on the agriculture sector, the Prime Minister said that the government was also collaborating with the Chinese on seed production and productivity improvement.