PM vows extended cooperation to uplift SMEs in the country

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Islamabad- Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday promised to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country to lift people out of poverty.

Addressing an event organised by the Sialkot business community following the inauguration of Air Sial – the third private airline of Pakistan – the premier reiterated the federal government’s aim to reduce poverty in the country and to help less developed areas including Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) and some districts of Balochistan and Punjab.

He underscored that Federal Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar and Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood and the business community have a solid interaction. “They listen to their problems and convey it to us, and we try our best to solve them,” he observed.

He further stressed on the importance of industrialisation in the country, adding that Pakistan’s industrialisation was faster than many countries worldwide.

The prime minister hailed China’s poverty alleviation strategy, adding that Pakistan will use China as a model to lift its people out of poverty.

The premier hailed the Ehsaas programme as being a significant initiative launched to tackle poverty in Pakistan. He reiterated the country’s need to increase its exports and decrease imports in order to solve the problem of foreign reserves.”When imports increase and exports decrease, it puts pressure on our economy, increasing our current account deficit.”Linking the progress of businesses in the country to a contained coronavirus situation, the premier urged the people to wear masks and take precautionary measures.

“We can save our country, our industries and our people if we take proper precautions,” he added.

Referring to rallies and gatherings being held by the opposition, the premier said, “The same opposition that criticised me for not imposing a complete lockdown – giving India as an example – is now holding rallies everywhere despite the increase in Covid-19 cases.”

Federal Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar, while addressing the business community, lauded the prime minister for saving the economy. “While economies worldwide are crashing amid Covid-19, our economy is prospering,” he claimed.

He said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government introduced schemes and packages to help uplift the economy, including the payroll financing scheme and construction packages and deferment of payments for small businesses.

The minister maintained that a 22 per cent increase in the sale of cement was recorded from July to October, 2020. He further added that automobile and pharmaceutical sales had also increased.

Hammad Azhar further stated that a business-friendly government, current exchange rate and industrial packages would help strengthen the country’s economy further.The premier is on a day-long visit to Sialkot where he will be performing groundbreaking of various development projects worth Rs17 billion under the Punjab Intermediate Cities Improvement Investment Program.The premier would also break ground for city’s sewage system and water supply scheme which would cost Rs 9.5 billion, inaugurate recreational parks for general public costing Rs 300 million and a provision of latest machinery for solid waste machinery against Rs 600 million.

He would also be interacting with the business community besides launching the development projects

Accompanied by federal ministers Hammad Azahar, Ghulam Sarwar, Advisor Razzak Dawood, SAPM Usman Dar, Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar and Special Assistant to CM Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, the prime minister, earlier in the day, launched Air Sial. The airline would initially operate domestically.With current fleet of three Airbus A320-200, the airline would operate flights to and from Sialkot, Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar.

Known for producing sports goods particularly the world’s finest footballs, Sialkot took another lead by launching the airline, after it had established the first privately owned airport in 2007 funded by the city’s business community.




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