PM TRACKER
 
 
PM SPENDS A BUSY WEEK
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From SHAMIM AHMED RIZVI,
 Islamabad

Jan 17 - 30, 2005
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As usual Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz remained extremely busy the last week ending on January 9, 2005. He toured Sindh and Balochistan besides meeting several delegation including the Japanese Minister for Economy & Trade Industry Mr. Shoicho Nakagawa.

Addressing a public meeting at Hub, after reviewing progress of on-going development projects in Balochistan, Shaukat Aziz declared that no hindrance will be tolerated in the development of Balochistan. Besides construction of Gwadar Port, Makran coast and other mega projects in the area, a number of skill development institutes would also be set up in the province to groom local human resources. Highlighting the achievements made by the country over the last 5 years on social and economic fronts, the Prime Minister assured the huge audience that this process of development would be accelerated further specially in the less development areas like Balochistan. The present government has undertaken development projects worth Rs. 130 billion for Balochistan province, which was an all time record. He declared we will not allow anyone to harm Pakistan as we would be nowhere without it. "By adopting the principles of hardwork, honesty and sincerity we will make Pakistan a model country for the world."

Addressing the members of the Civil Services Academy Alumni Sindh at its annual diner on the same night at Karachi, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said that in this age of globalization geo-politics is fast yielding to geo economic and to meet this challenge of paradigm shift Pakistan is now promoting economic diplomacy. He said Pakistan has done this to obtain market access and favourable trade agreements and encourage foreign direct investment.

The Prime Minister said that driven by technological and information revolutions, globalization has increased the interdependence and greater integration of the world society. It required gaining and sharpening new skills, as conventional approach to civil service were no more relevant. He said that in the modern economy, competitive advantage also comes from applying skills and knowledge to develop mutual dependencies and marketing services. "Our vision for a stronger and prosperous Pakistan is based on consistent economic sovereignty, credible defence capability, continued political process, compatible governance structure ensuring speedy justice and improved service delivery and conducive international environment friendlier to Pakistan, he added.

The premier reminded the civil servants that they had a critical role in not only furthering this vision but also working selflessly in sustaining that. "As a civil servant it is one of your job to promote shared understanding among government, people, and cultures." He emphasized upon the civil servants the necessity of recognizing immediate challenges, which included skill gap, developing of values of services, responsiveness to public, transparency in public dealings, concern for the taxpayers' money, centrality of the citizen and image at home and abroad.

Next day, while inaugurating the MCB tower at Karachi, Prime Minsiter Shaukat Aziz asked banks to mobilize funds through bond floats from international market to finance long-term projects. Sindh Governor Dr. Ishrat-ul-Ebad Khan, Chief Minister Dr. Arbab Ghulam Rahim, Governor State Bank Dr. Ishrat Hussain, Advisor to PM on Finance Dr. Salman Shah and heads of local and foreign banks were present on the occasion.

He said the banks have to look out for opportunities as the global scenario was changing for financing of capital goods. "This could be domestic bonds, foreign currency bonds. There is no reason why private sector cannot raise financing for capital goods from international market", the Prime Minister observed. "Pakistan is going for road shows for its second bond issue next week. That means that Pakistan was going to Islamic market, the Premier pointed out.

He said this bond also open up Pakistan to investors who had stayed away from Pakistan for years and bring them back. "We hope that this issue will go well and attract lots of interest. This will be another landmark transaction." He said, the Eurobond was the best issue in Asia. It was professionally done. He was of the view that banking system in Pakistan, compared to many developing countries, was way ahead. "In the SAARC region, I can say with full confidence that the banking system in Pakistan is way ahead of all its neighbours. I am looking at quality of banking," he said.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz performed the inauguration of Rozgar Micro Finance Bank at a ceremony held at the State Guest House, Karachi. Speaking on the occasion, he hoped that this private sector initiative would prove to be a very major undertaking in creating and spreading micro finance in the country. He also pointed out that the United Nations General Assembly has already adopted a resolution declaring 2005 as 'the international year of micro credit'. He said the launching of Micro Finance Bank in the country on this occasion would augur well for economy. The Prime Minister pointed out that five years ago "we had nothing in this field, but today we have four institutions and many more are in the pipeline." This is a very good beginning but "we have a lot more to do."

 

 

On the same day, addressing a big gathering in Dadu, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said that $ 12 billion, which were reserved by the present government through economic reforms, would be spent for improvement of living standard of the common people and development of the country. He said that the government wanted to utilize these foreign reserves for rapid development at the grassroots level instead of depositing the same in the bank.

In Sindh, the Prime Minister said, the federal government is spending Rs. 140 billion on various development projects, including Left Bank Outfall Drain project, Right Bank Outfall Drain project and repair of Sukkur Barrage. He said a major chunk of development funds are being spent on completion of the chain of development projects of basic needs including provision of electricity, gas, drinking water and pacca roads to the people. The government wanted to restore the confidence of the people by securing the future of not only the present age group, but also the next generation of the country, he said.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz presided over the meeting of the cabinet and announced the decision of the government to launch Islamic Bond (SUKUK) by the next week in the international capital markets of Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

Next day Prime Minister chaired a high-level meeting in Islamabad to review the performance of ports and shipping. He directed Ministry of Science and Technology for installing early warming system in Arabian Sea against tsunami like disaster to prevent loss of life and property of people living in ports and long coastal areas of Pakistan. The task has been assigned to Institute of Oceanology to study the system already installed in the Oceans of the world, particularly in Pacific Ocean, which has saved lives of people in surrounding countries including Japan several times due to before hand waning. Such system will be installed in Indian Ocean after the recent unprecedented tsunami disaster in Indian Ocean, killing more than 150,000 people and causing loss of property on large scale in South and East Asian countries.

Prime Minister chaired another high-level meeting in Islamabad on the same day relating to food and agriculture and environment ministries. He directed to establish modern border terminals at Chaman, Taftan, Wagah and Torkham, equipped with modern heavy-duty scanners and other facilities for quick clearance of goods. Mr. Aziz said the NLC could also serve as a long bridge between Gwadar Port and Central Asian states and Afghanistan transit and transshipment of goods. "NLC can play a leading role in enhancing trade and economic links of Pakistan with Central Asia as a regional carrier." he said.