LAHORE, Jan 02 (APP): Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI) said on Tuesday that only economically strong Pakistan could handle all sorts of pressures; therefore, ‘war against economic ills’ should be started instantly and a task force for economic revival, having representatives from both public and private sectors, should be formed.
LCCI President Malik Tahir Javaid, Senior Vice President Khawaja Khawar Rashid and Vice President Zeshan Khalil said Pakistan is a resource-rich country and did not need any external financial help. Unfortunately, the previous governments did not pay any heed to utilise all resources, they said.
The LCCI office-bearers said that political instability, low foreign direct investment, the high cost of doing business, politics on mega projects like Kalabagh Dam and trade deficit had led to stagnant growth in Pakistan. Pakistan would have to address these issues through good economic reforms as it had all resources to become an economic giant, they added.
They said Pakistan’s huge mineral resources could help get rid of the economic ills, particularly external debts, within next five years, asserting that country had one of the largest reserves of gold and copper and coal in the world.
According to a rough estimate, they said, the value of coal reserves in Pakistan was 187 times more than the GDP of Pakistan and only two percent of Pakistani coal reserves could generate 20,000-MW of
electricity for almost 50 years. In addition to gold, copper and coal, the country had vast reserves of precious stones, gypsum, salt and marble. The LCCI office-bearers said that the mega-project should not be sacrificed to political wills as it had to play a major role in economic uplift of the country.
They said that most of Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs) were eating up around Rs600 billion annually from the national exchequer; therefore, these PSEs should be turned into profitable entities by strict reforms.
Market and products diversification was the best method to boost the exports, while Pakistani exports dependent on a few items and countries, they said and asserted that United States, China, Afghanistan, United Kingdom and Germany were top five trading partners of Pakistan but various lucrative destinations were still untouched.
They said that Pakistani missions abroad should be given the task to find out new destinations for Pakistan products and the government should also be facilitated export-oriented industries by resolving their genuine issues like delay in refunds etc.
They said that tourism industry was also one of the largest industries with direct or indirect economic contributions of over US$7.5 trillion globally but this sector of Pakistan was not working as good as it should be. They said that Pakistan needs to market itself as a tourism destination as it was endowed with beautiful landscapes, sceneries, historical heritage and other attractive places for international tourists. They said that tourism industry of Pakistan had the potential to turn Pakistan into a hub of economic activities and can give revenue of billions of dollars to the national exchequer.
They said that keeping in view the fast changing global scenario and challenges for Pakistan, government immediate economic planning and its implementation in the true sense of the word was a must for self-reliance and to avert any serious challenge to the national sovereignty.