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.