Briefing the ruling coalition on the forthcoming
budget and overall economic performance during the year last week, Prime
Minister Shaukat said that budget 2005-06 would be pro-poor and
pro-investors as improvement in these two areas is inevitable to help
strengthen Pakistan's economy.
The forthcoming budget will carry a number of
incentives for welfare of the downtrodden. He mentioned increase in
minimum daily wages and upward salary revision of government officials
aimed at improving the living standard.
Besides holding various meetings in connection with
the budget 2005-06, Prime Minister presided over the annual convocations
of Hamdard University and Institute of Business Administration in
Karachi, launched a TV channel in private sector, unveiled a plague of
an industrial site allocated by the Sindh Government in Karachi for SMEs
units, addressed the editors of Sindh newspaper at Governor House
Karachi, met a delegation of South Asian of Free Media Association in
Islamabad inaugurated a Child Welfare & Protection Center at
Islamabad, addressed the convention of lady health workers at Lahore,
met former Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali and addressed a
party meeting besides presided over a meeting on WAPDA.
Continuing his briefing to coalition partners on
budget 2005-06 and overall economic conditions, the Prime Minister said
that the government wants to increase income of the poor so that they
could lead comfortable life and play a vibrant role in national
progress. He said the government was fully aware of the problems of the
people and the forthcoming budget would bring great relief to the common
man. The government would allocate more funds, in the next budget for
rural development schemes and health, education and poverty reduction
program. The government would spend billions of rupees in the next
fiscal year on safe drinking water availability program, he added.
He added that Pakistan's economy has shown robust
growth of 8.35 percent in the current fiscal year, which was a pride for
every Pakistani. "Today Pakistan stands tall among the world
community as it needs not to go to any international donor agency to
seek loans to run its day to day affairs", he claimed.
Addressing the annual plan of coordination committee,
Shaukat Aziz said Pakistan's economy has achieved an impressive growth
rate this year, as a result of which it will emerge as one of the top
five fastest growing countries in Asia. This high growth rate of the
gross domestic product had been possible owing to 7.5 percent increase
in agriculture, 15.4 percent in large-scale manufacturing and 7.9
percent in the services sector. The prime minister observed that higher
economic growth helped in creating jobs and improving the purchasing
power of the people. It was also causing the emergence of middle class.
Shaukat Aziz told the meeting that Pakistan had
achieved over 8 percent growth rate five times in its history 10.2
percent in 1953-54; 9.4 percent in 1964-65; 8.7 percent in 1983-84 and
now repeated the same performance after a long gap during the current
fiscal year. He congratulated the people in general and policy makers in
particular for hitting 8.35 percent growth rate and expressed optimism
that Pakistan would maintain the high tide by showing excellent
performance in all areas in the future.
The Prime Minister said: "We as a nation are
used to face the challenges upfront, and beat them with honour and
dignity. He cited 1998 and its fallout when Pakistan tested nuclear
device and faced challenges. He said that every time Pakistan proved
that it was capable enough to face any challenge and translate it into
big success. Pakistan took its sick economy as a challenge some six
years back when President General Pervez Musharraf took over, "and
today it stands among the nations, which have the highest growth rate in
the region", he added .
He said the government had put in place a well
thought out economic policy, which is based on three golden principles:
deregulation, privatization and liberalization. The policy gave expected
results to bring the national economy back on the right track. The
government was pushing forward its reforms agenda to improve the
efficiency of the key areas. He mentioned banking sector in particular
which, in his opinion, has been performing extremely well. He said that
85 percent of the banks are now being managed by the private sector, and
it was indicative of liberal economic policy of the government.
Speaking as Chief Guest at the "convocation
2005" of the Hamdard University at Karachi, Prime Minister said
Pakistan needs to invest heavily in higher education and utilize its
human resource development to play a vital role in the world. "We
recognize that 21st century belongs to Asia and to accomplish this
vision, education has a crucial role to perform", he said.
The Prime Minister stressed the need for an
educational system that prepares citizens for the future challenges
while preserving and enhancing "our values." The educational
quality of the workforce would "determine our economic performance
in the increasingly competitive world," he said. "We need to
think carefully about what our students require. Certainly, they need a
combination of academic orientation and technical skills, freedom to
express their opinions within the parameters of our values, skills to
market themselves in the domestic and international avenues."
Integrity, diligence and teamwork are critical skills that would enable
youngsters to push forward and create new opportunities for themselves
and for Pakistan, he added. Shaukat Aziz stressed that teachers must
arouse passion among the youth for knowledge, learning and excellence.
Pakistan has been endowed with great human capital
that is second to none but the skill gap needs to be bridged, he noted.
The premier pointed out that growth and human development are mutually
reinforcing in nature. For this reason, the government's human resources
development strategy is aligned with economic and social sector
Unveiling the plague for an industrials state
allocated by Sindh government for SMEs units the Prime Minister
instructed that provincial government authorities to issue special
instructions to personnel of official agencies to stop harassing small
businessmen, traders and industrialists and bring them under the
umbrella of self-assessment. Work of checks and inspections by different
agencies may be handed over to one company to eliminate interference by
officials, which is causing a lot of wastage of precious time of the
industrialists that can be utilized for productive activities.
The Sindh government has allocated 100 acres of land
on Northern Bypass and allocated Rs300 million initially for its
development. Out of the total, 30 acres of plots have been reserved for
women entrepreneurs. The Sindh Governor Dr Ishrat-ul-Ebad Khan, Chief
Minister Dr. Arbab Ghulam Rahim and Minister for Industries, Labour and
Transport Adil Siddique spoke on the occasion.
Addressing the concluding session of regional
conference on violence against children, the Prime Minister said that
children are our future and it is our responsibility to create a better,
healthier and safer world for them. He said children were the best
assets for the future and we must take every possible step to ensure
that they get good education, health and environment for their
spiritual, moral and social development.
The prime minister after meeting a delegation of
Pakistan Teachers United Front at the Prime Minster House said the
government holds teachers in high esteem and was striving to give them
their due place in the society. He assured the teachers that their
demands would be considered sympathetically and relief would be provided
to government employees including the teachers in the forthcoming
budget. He directed constitution of a 12-member committee, comprising
representatives of teachers and government officials, to look into
demands of the teachers.
Addressing Lady Health workers convention at Fortress
stadium, the Prime Minister said that Lady Health workers are playing an
important role in government's policy of providing health care
facilities to people especially mother and child at their doorsteps.
Provision of best health facilities to the people including those living
in far flung areas is the top priority of the government for which not
only budget allocations have been increased considerably but various
policies have been evolved which is being pursued vigorously. "Not
only government but also people as well as international community is
appreciative of their commitment and dedication to their profession
which they have shown in discharge of their duties helping cutting down
mortality rate among mothers and new born."
The premier said that as a token of recognition of
their commitment to their profession, "I feel proud to announce
increase in their honorarium from Rs1700 to Rs2200 and supervisors'
honorarium to Rs4000. "We are also appreciative of your role in
campaigns against polio and tetanus and would continue efforts to
increase facilities for you," said the Prime Minister.
Inaugurating a new TV channel Aaj in Karachi, Prime
Minister emphasized that decision by present government are the product
of national and priority agenda and are devoid of whims and figment of
individual fantasies as President Musharraf and the Prime Minister are
trying to forge ahead the same psyche and environment to enforce future
decisions which are being made in national interest only.
He was of the view that creative and innovative
energy that is available in depth and breadth has to be utilized to take
the country forward. People need a platform and the government has
opened the door of opportunity. He advised the professionals to open the
door and just enter and improve quality of life, grab the opportunity
and put in hard work to take Pakistan to new heights of excellence. The
job of the government is to create the environment while the role of
every individual is to move forward and reap rich harvest as long as the
chances are made available, he added.
He assured to follow government's policy of
proliferation in electronic media channels which has created tremendous
opportunities for employment as there was dearth of professional people
in this field. As the government has issued licenses to 37 channels in
the country, the decision will open up new vistas for skilled persons
who have the expertise in this sector. The creative energy that is
required to fill up jobs in channels will automatically absorb hundreds
of thousands of persons providing ample opportunities for employment.
"We are not less than any television channel in the world as far
quality of products is concerned. Our soap operas, dramas and musical
programs are very popular in the world and that has been due to the
tremendous resources of creative energy that Pakistan possesses,"
Talking to Editors of Sindhi Newspapers and
electronic media at Governor House Karachi, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz
urged to persuade local youth to acquire technical skills and better
education to get jobs. "We want to provide jobs to locals and Sindh
government was recruiting local people. But we need skilled and quality
educated youth to get these jobs". "You owe to your children
to provide them better education and skills so that they can get
jobs", he noted. "My advice for you is to use all the powers
you have at your disposal to underline the need for quality education
and vocational skills for job creation in the province".
Replying to a question regarding jobs for local
people, he said the media should promote quality education and
vocational training in the province.
The prime minister said the country was facing a
shortage of skilled manpower. "You must insist on vocational
training." No nation can progress without education", he
observed. He said the government was focusing on one village one product
concept to boost industrialization in rural areas.
He said Hala can be picked for the manufacture of
blue tiles and pottery, wooden furniture, Ajarak with the help of new
design, bank credit and marketing. Government will provide expertise to
the artisans of Sindh to improve quality of their products for value
addition and exports, he offered.