The prime minister said Islam built a great legacy and civilization, made great strides in the fields of science, reformed societies, and set new moral standards.
He said at present Pakistan had gained economic stability as the rupee was stable despite the coronavirus pandemic. “The problem is that half of the government’s revenue is being spent on paying off loans. Our next challenge is to increase economic growth through exports,” he said, adding the overseas Pakistanis had sent record foreign remittances.
Imran Khan assured that the government was focused on bringing investment as record number of companies had been registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP).
However, he said, the expensive power agreements were a problem for the government. If electricity rates would be increased it would add to financial difficulties of the people and cause further price hikes, and if they were kept at the present rate it would hike the circular debt.
The government in its new agreement with the Independent Power Producers, he said, would save public money and stop the rise in circular debt.
The prime minister said inflation was a major issue and the reason for price hikes was the devaluing of rupee against the dollar which went up from Rs 107 to Rs 160. The government, however, was focused on bringing down prices and it signed a cheaper contract for gas to facilitate the citizens.
“We are trying our best to lessen the burden of price hikes on the common man. We will initiate new programmes and give direct financial assistance to the poor people through the Ehsaas Programme. We will introduce a programme to ensure that nobody in the country sleeps hungry. We have chosen areas for opening of kitchens to provide food to the poor people.”
Imran Khan said all citizens in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were given health insurance cards while the same would be given to the whole of Punjab by the end of current year. Every person would have an insurance of Rs 1 million to get medical treatment in any hospital. The government would provide all basic facilities to the citizens, he vowed.
The focus, he added, would also be on improving agriculture and conditions of farmers by launching of new schemes. Mega projects like the Ravi Urban Development Project and commercial district in Lahore, and Bundle islands in Sindh would generate economic activity, protect the environment and create wealth to pay off the debts.
Two mega Bhasha and Mohmand dams would be constructed with the aim to boost the economy, he added.
Imran Khan said with the help of China, the government would hike the agriculture yield, and utilize talent and potential of the young population by equipping them with technology and skills.
He said electoral reforms and electronic voting machines would be introduced to ensure transparency in the elections and give overseas Pakistanis the right to vote.
He appreciated the team led by Minister for Planning Asad Umar for effectively tackling the coronavirus pandemic.