Wednesday Jan 19, 2022
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan turned down the possibility of imposing a lockdown despite the country witnessing a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases on Wednesday.
The government will not shut down the economy but will advise people to strictly observe mandated standard operating procedures (SOPs) for COVID-19, he said.
Addressing a launching ceremony of the National Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Policy in Islamabad, Prime Minister Imran Khan went on to say that the COVID-19 pandemic had created problems for the PTI government.
Coronavirus was a crisis of the century of which Pakistan was steered out due to the government’s successful policies, he added.
Appreciating PTI policies regarding the COVID-19 situation, he said that the world-renowned journal the Economist, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and World Economic Forum (WEF) had also acknowledged Pakistan as the only country in the world that saved its economy and the lives of its people.
He said that the prices of commodities increased worldwide due to the global pandemic but despite all these high exports, remittances and tax collection recorded in Pakistan.
Shedding light on the country’s economic condition, he said that the PTI government had faced huge challenges after coming into power while the governments in past had never been through that kind of an experience.
PTI inherited a bankrupt economy with depleting reserves and if United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia and China had not helped us out, it would have defaulted, he said.
PM Imran Khan said that the government had decided to take strict action against all those responsible for creating hurdles for any enterprise in the export, agriculture, industry or service industry sector.
The prime minister regretted that in the past, no government had ever cared for extending incentives and facilities for the SME sector.
He said that the SME growth in the country should be accelerated as another vital driver for Growth Domestic Product (GDP) in the country.
The premier further went on to say that the youth is capable of generating innovative ideas and startups, therefore the youth must be encouraged with incentives and facilities.
Pakistan’s total population is 220 million and ranked as second in the world because of its youngest population, he added.
He further went on to say that, in the United States (US), the revolution was started from the Silicon Valley where they encouraged youth and later they became billionaires.
The prime minister also stressed private sector come forward and support the SMEs.
He said that during the 1960s, the country was heading on a path of progress and people from Malaysia came to study in the country.
“Pakistan was regarded as a model of progress in the whole region and country’s bureaucracy was acknowledged as the highly efficient, he said.
He said that the country went down because of the political interference with wrong decisions and unfortunately lost its way.
The prime minister praise Singapore, saying that it had exports of about 40 billion dollars last year with a population of five million, while Malaysia with 33 million populations had about 25 billion dollars export.
The prime minister said the government had set a target of Rs8,000 in tax collection but in the last three years, the government succeeded in collecting Rs6,000 billion.
Hoping that government would surpass the target in the coming days, he added.
He said that the government is going to introduce automation, trace, and track systems to bring tax evaders into the list.
In a country of 220 million people, only 2 million are paying taxes, he said.