Punjab Chief Minister addresses at first Excellence Awards 2016 ceremony

Lahore, December 21, 2016 (PPI-OT):Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif has said that traders and industrialists community has played a key role in strengthening of national economy and coping with the challenges faced by the country. He said that industrialists and traders are backbone of national economy and it is the responsibility of the government to resolve their genuine problems. He said that he is ready to go to Islamabad with traders to act as their advocate for resolving the problems of business community relating to the federal government.

He said that Pakistan comprises four units as well as Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan and there is a need to evolve such policies as could benefit the whole country and promote industrial sector. He said that there is a need to take such decisions and measures as could increase national exports. He said that efforts being made under the leadership of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif for overcoming energy crisis are yielding positive results and with the completion of several power projects by the end of next year load-shedding will be eliminated. He said that abundant electricity will be available for industrial sector and domestic consumers at low rates.

He expressed these views while addressing the first Excellence Awards-2016 ceremony of Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry at Chief Minister’s Office, here today. The Chief Minister said that it is as honour for him to address industrialists and traders once again. He said that the role played by industrialists and traders for strengthening of national economy cannot be ignored. He said that a lot of efforts have been made under the leadership of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif for overcoming energy crisis.

He said that work is being carried out on power projects throughout the country expeditiously. He said that gas-based power plants of 3600 megawatts are being set up in Punjab and NEPRA has also brought down its tariff from 10.5 rupees to 6.5 rupees which will benefit domestic and industrial consumers. Shehbaz Sharif said that 1320-megawatts coal power plant each at Sahiwal and Port Qasim Sindh are in the final stages of completion. On the other hand, he said, Neelam- Jhelum project which was started in 2003 is still incomplete despite a passage of 14 years.

He said that initial estimated cost of this project was 800 million dollars which has now risen to 4.5 billion dollars and only 990 megawatts electricity will be generated. He said that the cost rising due to delay in the project is also being paid by the poor people of Pakistan which is painful. He said that compared to gas-based projects of the past, the new projects are being set up at half the cost which will benefit consumers. The Chief Minister said that under the constitution of 1973 the province which produces gas has the first right and the present government respects the constitution.

However, he said, it is clear that cost of production is low in that province where gas is cheap and it is high where gas price is higher. He said that in order to remove this disparity, the government should evolve such policies as could benefit all. Shehbaz Sharif said that under China Pakistan Economic Corridor an investment of 51 billion dollars is being made and out of this amount 38 billion dollar are being spent on power projects. He said that had 1320 megawatts coal power plant been set up with Pakistan’s foreign exchange, it would have bankrupted the reserves.

He said that power projects costing Rs. 12 billion dollars are in the final stages of completion. He said that China has given investment package of billions of dollars and now it is responsibility of Pakistan to benefit from it. He said that Pakistan cannot afford to waste this opportunity. He said that CPEC projects will promote Pakistani industry and local traders and investors should come forward for this purpose. He said that collective efforts are needed to make Pakistan a strong economic force.

The Chief Minister set up a committee headed by Provincial Minister for Industries Sheikh Allauddin and comprising representatives of traders to present practicable proposals for acquiring land for establishment of the office of Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Lahore. He said that decision will be taken immediately on merit on the recommendation of the committee. He said that textile is an important sector of national economy and sincere efforts are being made for resolving its problems.

Vice President and Regional Chairman Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Rehman Aziz Chan, President Abdul Rauf Alam, Vice President SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry Iftikhar Ali Malik, Vice President FPCCI Sheikh Khalid, Chief Executive Trade Development Authority Pakistan SM Munir and other trade leaders addressed the function and paid rich tributes to Chief Minister Punjab Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif for the measures taken for stability of economy and speedy development of the province.

Office-bearers of different traders’ organizations said that Punjab has made unprecedented progress due to hard work and effective economic policies of the Chief Minister. Shehbaz Sharif also awarded Excellence Awards-2016 to traders and industrialists showing outstanding performance. Provincial Ministers, Assembly Members, office-bearers and representatives of traders’ organizations from all over the country and a large number of industrialists were present on the occasion.

For more information, contact:
Chief Minister of Punjab
Chief Minister Secretariat
7-Club Road, GOR-I, Lahore, Pakistan
Tel: +92-42-99204906-14, +92-42-99203222-3
Fax: +92-42-99204915, +92-42-99203224
Website: www.cm.punjab.gov.pk