Prime Minister Imran Khan has assured the business community that the government is doing everything it can to resolve their issues and facilitate them. He also told them to expect more incentives in the next few days.
Addressing an event in Islamabad on Thursday, he said until the government works for the betterment of the common man, nothing can change and the country won’t prosper. When a nation is united, nothing can defeat it, he said.
He went on to say that Pakistan was envisioned as a welfare state, where the state takes responsibility for the weaker segment of society.
The difference between animals and humans, he said, is that animals operate on might is right and survival of the fittest, while humans have justice and compassion. This is what Pakistan was founded on, justice and compassion, he said.
But I can’t achieve this vision until the business community becomes part of my team, said PM Khan. He said investment in the country will aid in wealth creation and therefore help eliminate poverty, his government’s main aim.
We’re working with our existing teams and bringing in reforms but it takes time, cautioned the premier. It won’t take too much time though, he said. We are learning slowly and now we understand what works and what doesn’t and who works and who doesn’t, he said.
Regarding the FBR, he said until it is reformed, the government will not be able to collect enough tax to meet its expenses. Those who say ‘democracy is the best revenge’, well the type of revenge they took raised our national debt from Rs6 trillion to Rs30 trillion in 10 years, he said.
Our tax revenue is not enough, he added, explaining that revenue is Rs4 trillion and debt servicing takes over Rs2 trillion. After subtracting the provinces’ share and defence budget, that leaves nothing for the Centre, he said.
When I see their same old faces, I wonder how they don’t feel ashamed making speeches like this in the assembly, said PM Khan, referring to politicians who used to govern the country. In five years you sank us in debt but you expect that we should fix the country in five months, he said.
I said from the beginning that this difficult time would come and it is here, but it will pass, he assured. He said the government is working to attract investors, especially foreign investors, and several pledges have been made.
More investment will be pledged in the coming days, he said. However, in the meantime we still have to pay back our loans, which is why we’re going through a tough time, said the premier.
In six months I have seen that we have the potential and capability to turn our economy around, he said.
Before an economic collapse comes a moral collapse, he said, adding that when our economy improves, our morality will too.
We are trying to bring in a new mind-set, for which the business community has a big role, he said.
We are taking steps to address your issues, added the premier, who also explained that their refunds would be coming back under the new finance bill that was recently approved. Ease of doing business will be improved and the Board of Investment is working to resolve the challenges and hurdles you face.
I can guarantee that we’re trying, he said.
PM Khan also assured local investors that when conditions are improved and made better for foreign investors, local investors benefit too. He said the finance team will be in close contact with the business community and take advice from them.