Mianwali got a lesson in macro economics on Friday courtesy of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The premier was addressing a ground-breaking ceremony in the city where he made several remarks. To read what he said about politicians in the country, click here.
He also discussed some of the projects he was inaugurating and the country’s economic situation. When I became an MNA, wherever I went in Mianwali, people gave me requests, said the premier. “I would keep hearing the same things: police station, patwari, kutchery, school, hospital,” he said.
Here is what he said:
A hospital for Mianwali
I laid the stone of the mother and child hospital today and it’s especially important because when I started politics in Mianwali 23 years ago, I realised that the biggest issue in this area was that when they get sick, they can’t get proper treatment at the hospital.
Sometimes there are no doctors and patients have to be taken to Lahore or Rawalpindi. I remember seeing parents very worried for their children.
So today, God willing, this is a start for the people of Mianwali. This hospital is the start of us taking care of your health.
Another issue is that I used to go to the Khattak belt and there are lots of water issues there. We have set aside money for water supply schemes for this area too. First health and water, after that education for our kids.
Another hospital is also going to be built at the foot of the mountain. It won’t be a government hospital, it’s being built by a Pakistani in Manchester, Anil Mussarrat.
Education for everyone
When I used to go around Mianwali I saw that the youth wanted jobs. I also realised that they wouldn’t get jobs until they have knowledge and technical education.
When I saw the site for this technical college, I thought it was so very beautiful. So I said a university must be made here instead.
The amount of happiness I get when I see the Namal Institute progressing, I don’t get that joy from anything else. Remember this: nation’s prosper because of education. The more higher education centres we have, the higher Pakistan will go.
A knowledge city is being made and Namal is improving day by day. PhDs are coming to Mianwali from abroad to work here. Everyone told me that it wouldn’t happen, that no one would want to come here, but today Namal has more PhDs than city universities.
A new Mianwali university is also being set up and the vice-chancellor is already here.
I will say this again and again, Mianwali stood with me when no one else did, when no one else in Pakistan voted for me.
A new local government system
Today, I am Imran Khan, prime minister, tomorrow I won’t be. But that doesn’t mean schemes will finish and so will money. But to ensure that, we need to change the system.
Whether Imran Khan is there or not, the system should continue and continue to help you. My job is to teach you, help you and educate you, not just make naras. One of the reasons why the rest of the world is progressing is because their cities have great local government systems.
We have never had a great local government system in Pakistan, not like the ones we’re bringing in in KP and Punjab. Under this new system, each province will have its own finance commission and finance award.
The money will go from the Centre to the province, then to the districts and straight to the villages. We will have village elections so the nazim will decide where the money goes. These elections will be ‘non-party’.
The villagers will decide where to spend the money. They will supervise primary school and basic health units as well. They will also make sure the police stations are operating properly.
The money will go from the top to the bottom in villages. The law is ready.
In cities, we will have direct elections for city mayors. They will then make teams and look into the city’s issues, like its sewerage system and making money. The rest of the world has this system. Until we bring this system in, until people have the power, the country can’t progress.
When we had a chief minister from Lahore, all the money in Punjab went to Lahore. All of Punjab’s development funds went to Lahore. In Sindh, when a party from rural Sindh won, no money was spent on Karachi. Each city should have its own mayor.
Where Pakistan is today, with the internet and media, you’re getting all sorts of information. Let me explain it, so you can understand what’s going on.
We inherited a massive deficit, both fiscal and current account. We had the biggest deficit and our circular debt was very high. Power was in a deficit and gas too. The current account deficit is the most dangerous. It was a historic current account deficit.
That means our exports were less than our imports. We spent more money than we made. We actually imported three times as much as we exported.
The rupee dropped and the dollar value depreciated. Our dollar value dropped 35% and it’s a miracle that it didn’t drop further. It could have reached Rs300.
And that is how we ended up with inflation. We didn’t bring it in with us, it grew because they left us with a huge deficit.
I trust our economic team a lot and for the first time in four years, our current account has more dollars coming in than going out. That means the deficit is over!
The rupee has gone up by Rs4 against the dollar recently and we didn’t spend a single dollar on it.
That means we balanced our budget. I am educating you, teaching you about the economy.
We have more business confidence and investment in Pakistan now.
Pakistan is on the right path, it’s fixed and that’s why the unemployed politicians are on containers. They didn’t come because they believe the economy is in a bad state, that wasn’t their worry. They came because it’s getting better.