LAHORE: Governor Punjab Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar has said that disparity in gas prices between the provinces was the biggest issue but it had now been resolved by implementing uniform price across the country.
He stated this while speaking to the business community during his visit to the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI), on Wednesday. Senior Vice President LCCI Khawaja Khawar Rasheed, Vice President Zeshan Khalil, Tariq Hameed, Mian Misbah-ur-Rehman, Almas Hyder, Khawaja Shahzad Nasir, Fahim-ur-Rehman Saigol and Executive Committee Members also spoke on the occasion.
Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar said that uniform gas prices would be beneficial for the business community and help enhance exports. He said that partnership between the government and the business community was a must for progress and prosperity.
He said that today exports and imports were around $ 20 billion and $ 58 billion, respectively, due to bad policies of the previous government. Exports of pharmaceutical came down to $ 200 million from $ 400 million.
The Governor Punjab said that GSP Plus was a difficult task but achieved successfully for the country. Under GSP Plus Status, the governor said, exports of textile to the Eurozone enhanced by 47 per cent which had added $ 3 billion to the exports figures but benefits achieved from GSP Plus facility were far less than the potential.
Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar said that per hectare yield of cotton in Pakistan was 700kg as compared to India and European countries where it was 2,000kg per hectare. Likewise, fisheries exports of Pakistan were far less than India. He cited that production of fisheries could be increased from one ton per acre to five ton. He said that promotion of fisheries production in rural areas could generate huge employment opportunities and discourage the trend of migration from rural to urban areas.
The Governor Punjab mentioned that smuggling was one of the biggest challenges that must be tackled with an iron hand as it was causing huge loss to the local industries and national exchequer.
He said that provision of clean water was one of the top priorities of the Punjab government, adding that the government had not sufficient funds for provision of clean water in entire Punjab, therefore, generous people should come forward and help the government in this regard.
About commercialization of Canal Road, Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar invited the proposals from the LCCI. He said that campus established by the universities, remained fail to maintain quality of education. Universities would have to maintain education quality and campus delivering below the quality would be closed at any cost.
He urged the vice chancellors to issue degrees to those students who have qualified for it. Students were an asset of the country and could come to him for resolution of their issues.
Speaking on the occasion, LCCI Senior Vice President Khawaja Khawar Rasheed said that withholding tax on banking transactions was unjustified and should be withdrawn immediately. He said that taxation system should be restructured because those 0.8 million people who were already in tax net, were being burdened. He said that rate of duties and taxes should also be reduced to encourage taxpaying.
He said the Punjab governor played a key role in winning GSP Plus Status for the country in 2013. Renewal of this status was a good omen for the country. He said that personal interest of Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar could help Pakistan get maximum access to the European markets. He also called for reduction in electricity, gas and petroleum prices. He said that Canal Road should be re-commercialized in the larger interest of the business community.—INP