Kakar wants five-year economic plan drawn up

By Mehtab Haider & Muhammad Anis
Published in The News on September 08, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar has directed the Ministry of Planning to prepare a five-year plan and national economic agenda to set a long-term economic direction. The planning ministry was also mandated for the constitution of different working groups to formulate the next five-year plan from 2023-24 to the fiscal year 2028-29.

The planning ministry has also been mandated to prepare a national economic agenda for long-term economic direction, setting the goal of economic revival. Under the plan, the planning ministry has been assigned the task of consolidating and synergizing various initiatives such as the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC), China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Green Pakistan, Vision 2035 and 5Es [Exports, Environment & Climate Change, Equity and Empowerment Framework). This document will become part of the five-year plan.

The ministry has also been tasked to come up with a plan to enhance the connectivity of Gwadar and remove bottlenecks in the way of improving its infrastructure. The Gwadar connectivity is very important as the Planning Commission’s Central Development Working Party (CDWP) is also scheduled to take up for the third time the revised cost of Gwadar International Airport with a cost of Rs60 billion.

Talking to a delegation of the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) at the PM House, Caretaker PM Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar said consultations were underway for the promotion of trade with neighbouring countries. He said an operation had been launched across the country, especially in border areas, to prevent smuggling. He said the crackdowns on smuggling carried out during the last 48 hours had yielded positive results, adding that the neighbouring countries had welcomed Pakistan’s action against smuggling.

The ICCI delegation, headed by Chamber’s President Ahsan Bakhtawar, congratulated Anwaarul Kakar on assuming responsibilities of caretaker PM and assured him of full support for restoration of the country’s economy. Kakar said addressing the problems of the business community was among the foremost priorities of the government. He recognised that despite the current economic situation, the business community was playing an important role in economic development and in provision of employment opportunities. He said the government was ensuring reforms in the tax system for its digitalisation.

Kakar said the country’s economy would be further strengthened by restoring the confidence of traders, industrialists and investors. He said the process of reforms in the power sector had been expedited. Effective action would be taken against those involved in power pilferage.

The PM said consultations with all stakeholders were important to address the problems being faced by the country. “There can’t be any improvement in the country’s economic conditions unless there is an increase in tax collection,” he observed.

Kakar directed the commerce ministry to ensure regular consultations with chambers across the country and seek their suggestions. He said the performance of commercial attachés posted to the Pakistani embassies should be improved. He also directed the Federal Board of Revenue to expand points of sales and also sought a report from the board in this connection. He also gave directions for bringing an improvement in the CDA system and digitalising the land records.

The delegation apprised the prime minister of problems being faced by traders and also gave suggestions for their resolution. The caretaker PM welcomed the suggestions and promised to address the problems of the business community.

The federal secretary of commerce, FBR chairman and CDA chairman were also present. The ICCI delegation consisted of group leader Khalid Iqbal Malik, Mian Iqbal Farid, Sardar Yasir Ilyas Khan Khalid Javed, Zafar Bakhtawari and others.

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