Positive Indicators of Economic Strengthening

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In the current situation, Pakistan is in dire need of foreign investment. Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif will visit the People’s Republic of China from 4th to 8th June. He has been invited for this visit by the President of China, Xi Jinping, and Prime Minister Li Keqiang.

According to the information from the Foreign Office of Pakistan, all arrangements for the Prime Minister’s visit to China have been finalized. PM Shehbaz Sharif will be accompanied by important ministers and a 110-member delegation of businessmen and investors. He will meet with President Xi Jinping in Beijing and hold discussions at the ministerial level with Prime Minister Li Keqiang. He will also meet with the Chairman of the National People’s Congress Zhang Gaoli and heads of important government departments.

This visit of the Prime Minister of Pakistan is of utmost importance. It is expected to bring significant progress in Pakistan-China relations. According to the Foreign Office, one important aspect of the Prime Minister’s visit is to meet with corporate executives of leading Chinese companies in the fields of oil and gas, energy, ICT, and emerging technologies. This indicates that the Prime Minister will invite Chinese companies to invest in Pakistan’s oil and gas and technology sectors.

Apart from important meetings in Beijing, the Prime Minister will also visit the important business city of Shenzhen in China. Here, he will address the China-Pakistan Business Forum and visit economic and industrial zones. Both countries will discuss cooperation on seasonal strategic initiatives during the visit.

China is already heavily investing in Pakistan’s economy. In the current circumstances, Pakistan needs foreign investment urgently. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have already announced heavy investments in Pakistan. Therefore, if China also increases its investments, it will boost economic activities in Pakistan, leading to job creation.

The Chinese government is placing great importance on the Prime Minister’s visit to Pakistan. The Chinese Foreign Ministry has described the friendship between Pakistan and China as ‘Mountain Tai,’ symbolizing strong and stable relations. China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ma Nan has said that this visit will promote perpetual strategic partnership between China and Pakistan and build a close-knit community in the new era.

The Chinese government has high hopes for the Prime Minister’s visit to Pakistan. China is a major economic and financial power in the world. China is also heavily investing in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, and the construction and expansion of the Gwadar Port have been undertaken by China. China can play a significant role in bringing advanced technology to Pakistan. China is not a foreign country for Pakistan but a true friend.

Chinese engineers are working on various projects in Pakistan. Despite the difficult financial situation, the current government is focusing on improving the country’s economy, and the results are gradually emerging. The Prime Minister, Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif, met with a delegation of auto and auto parts manufacturers on Sunday.

During the meeting, the Prime Minister emphasized that the government is taking steps to increase national revenues and start local production of cars in Pakistan. The government will implement the auto sector’s deletion policy, making Pakistan’s auto parts industry part of global value chains.

The Prime Minister also heard about the current challenges in the auto sector during the meeting with the delegation. This shows that the current government is interested in the development of local industries in Pakistan. Despite the financial difficulties, the government is making every effort to provide relief to the people wherever possible. In the next 15 days, petrol prices have been reduced by Rs. 4.74 per liter and diesel prices by Rs. 3.86 per liter. Similar adjustments were made for petroleum products in the past fifteen days.

The government must further reduce petroleum product prices. The price of LPG has also been reduced by Rs. 3.86 per kilogram, with the new price set at Rs. 234.59. This reduction in LPG prices will benefit the general public and transportation. The government should also consider reducing fares for transport using LPG and petrol.

For the next fiscal year, the government has set economic targets, estimating economic growth at 3.6 percent, while the inflation target is 12 percent. According to the news reports, the government has allocated Rs. 1.22 trillion for the Federal Public Sector Development Program (PSDP).

The government is striving to align the development budget with the Constitution and IMF. The Annual Plan Coordination Committee (APCC), which made these decisions, has approved the elimination of parliamentary discretionary expenses, a budget of Rs. 1.221 trillion for the next fiscal year, which is a 64 percent increase from the current revised budget, with actual spending estimates of Rs. 746 billion determined. The National Economic Council will review the APCC recommendations in its next meeting and provide approval. It is possible that the June budget announcement will take place after Prime Minister’s return from Beijing. The federal budget will only be announced after proper presentation to the Parliament, but the current information suggests that the government is making significant efforts for improvement.

In response to the directive of the Federal Minister of Communications, Pakistan Post has announced to provide services to the public on Sundays as well, including utility bill payments. Currently, services will be provided in around 85 GPOs across the country. According to media reports, the successful implementation of this decision will expand services to other important post offices as well.

The rate of working in government offices in Pakistan is extremely low, especially the performance of officers and employees of agencies that provide services to the public is disappointing. Just as the Department of Posts announced the provision of services on Sundays, the banking sector should also follow suit. There is a need to start banking services during night hours as well.

Providing postal and banking services at night will benefit consumers. This will also bring improvements to the national economy and increase employment opportunities. Public sector officials and employees should be given tailored work orientation and training instead of procrastinating and forcing citizens to go from one office to another. The nature of government officials and employees needs to be improved.

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