Posted by: Administrator | 5 February, 2005

President address at Ground Breaking Ceremony of Expo Centre Lahore

14 March 2006

Lt General Khalid Maqbool Governor of Punjab, Humayyun Akhtar Minister of Commerce, Tariq Ikram Chairman Export Promotion Bureau, Ajmal Cheema Minister of Industries Punjab, all the ministers, MNAs, MPAs, the distinguish guests, ladies and Gentlemen

It is indeed a immense pleasure and a unique privilege for meet to be here at the foundation laying ceremony of Expo Centre Lahore, I think it is indeed a historical day because we are creating an exhibition and conference venue at a place which happened to be a hub of industrial activities. If you see industries around this location especially in Gugranwala, Faisalabad, Sialkot, and Wazirabad this Expo Centre located at Lahore will certainly serve the main industrial hub of Punjab and indeed of Pakistan. This Expo Centre of Lahore is going to provide us integrated facilities to show case Pakistani products because it happened to be at the centre.

I am very glad that this centre is being develop through public private partnership, it had adequately bought out that while federal government is funding the construction of the center, the provincial government has given fifty acres of the land and private centre will be developing the technology towers , the hotel and the shopping mall on a BOT basis. I am very glad that this is public private partnership through which a certain monumental effort is being undertaken and I am very sure the centre will act as a catalyst for developing industries for increasing our exports and serving the areas around as I said which is the hub of industrial activities. I

f you compare this what you achieved in Expo centre Karachi , indeed the future of this expo Centre will be very bright because I know in expo centre Karachi we had export 2005 which as brought out by Mr Tariq Ikram was a great success in that there wee two hundred and fifty exhibitors and innumerable foreigner guests who came and attended that exhibitions and now export 2006 which is been held in same centre in Karachi we already, I am being told will be a five days event and we already have five hundreds exhibitors who will be joining there and about two thousands foreign buyers who are accepted to descend on Karachi and I think it is again going to be success.

With all this successes, we have spoken of great turn around of economy of Pakistan, the main element was the fiscal deficient we were suffering of, where it was about eight percent it was of double figures in 90s and as a layman I found out why this fiscal deficient,, I came to know clearly that we were spending on defence, on establishment, cost running the government and the hammeraging of all the public sector enterprises, this hammeraging was of hundred billion rupees, the earning came from revenue generation so we concentrated on revenue generation, increases the revenue generation through documented the economy and we met the great success.

In that revenue which through at three hundred billion rupees in 1999-2000 will cross seven hundreds billion rupees this years, this is the success of documentation we carried out right in 2000then we try to reduce the expenditure, we reduce the establishment cost, we caped the defence budget inspite of the fact that the threat on us was increasing, inspite of the fact there was ten months confrontation on our Eastern borders but yet we caped the budget to reduce cost and thirdly we appointed very capable leaders or capable directors to run the public sector enterprises who reduce the hammeraging over hundred billion rupees to around twenty five or thirty billion rupees so this was the turn around of fiscal deficient which reduce around eight percent to under four percent

Then we look at external balance of payment and we saw that external balance of payment was in deficient by about five billion dollars every year, this was mainly because we had spend on our imports and that could not be reduce as industry was running on imports.

We also had to spend money debt service liabilities which was tune of five billion dollars so we went to Paris Club and we approach to international finance institutions who had lend us all that money debt rescheduling, for debt writ off, for debt offs and we reduce our debt service liability from over five billion to around two billion dollars.

Then we needed to increase are earning and we saw earning came from exports, from remedies and from foreign Direct investment so we attack all three areas and I am very glad to say remedies increase from under one billion dollars to over four billion dollars today which is an increase of four percent. 2

FDI increase from around four hundred million dollars to above 1.5 billion dollars and we hope to touch three billion dollars and the export coming to issue in hand, export we stood 7.86 billion dollars in 1999-2000 have cross fourteen billion dollars and we are going to cross seventeen billion dollars this year. I hope Humayyun is correct we across they crossed 18 billion which is a rise of hundred and thirty or hundred and forty percent in five years so therefore earning increased, expenditures reduced , we converted the external balance of payment deficient into a surplus of two million dollars a years back but however this surplus again went down because of increase in our imports but I am very glad that when we examined what are we importing really mainly it is chemical and industrial machineries on which we are spending money therefore I am extremely please that our imports is expanding the industries and therefore ultimately they are going to result in increase in exports and that must happen therefore I am very glad the economy of Pakistan has certainly turn around and going on the rise and as time passes it will keep rising InshAllah.

I would like to talk of what we were doing in past and what we are doing now as far as export are concerns, in past are market was very narrowly focusing only on United States and the West , it had a narrowed focused and it exports mainly in agriculture products and textiles and we realized that back in 2000 that textile only account six percent of world trade while sixty one percent trade is heavy engineering, heavy industry in the engineering sectors therefore in 2000 we took a deliberate decision to shift focus to the industrial sector and I am very proud of the fact that shifting of focus has resulted in an out come.

In 2004 our industrial growth was 18.2 percent and in 2005 it was 14.6 percent and again this year it is going to be in doubled figures therefore industry is rising and may I say that with this rise in the industry are non textile exports have risen substantially now so therefore the focus shifting nearly from textile and agriculture is going toward industry.

We are reintegrated export promotion bureau and back in 1999 when we were looking at boosting the export and reintegrated EPB, I got this gentle man Tariq Ikram , I must say he has done a great job and like to give him all the credit for enhancing our exports and I would also like to give credit to all the ministers past and present and ministers of industries pat and present who contributed effectively towards increasing our exports that we have shattered the fifty years record of Pakistan which never cross nine billion dollars before 2000.

let me also say very proudly that we broke that record in July 2001 , why I am saying this is because everyone thinks that everything happened after 9/11, No sir, we have broken Pakistan export record in July 2001 when we made 9.2 billion dollars of exports so therefore we started achieving results before 9/11 so let it not conclude that it was 9/11 which did the trick , we had starting turning around, we had control the fiscal deficient , we were in process of converting the external balance of payment deficient to a surplus before 9/11.

I must say also we try to diversify our markets in that we went into all other areas of the world looking toward the East China and South East, looking to South America, looking at Africa and we also diversified our products and that is why the great success of Export Promotion Bureau that we diversified are products also and I know Tariq Ikram gone to Iraq to President Saddam Hussain and exported million of dollars of sanitories there we have diversified our products.

I would be reminisced on textile industry for doing very well also, inspite of all the quotas removal they did exceptionally well in expanding our export in textile sectors. Now ladies and gentle we have to look at future, they have evolved a new strategy which we are calling Rapid Export Growth Strategy and I would like to read out five component of the strategy which will be followed in the future.

Firstly use straight diplomacy to improve market excess and sign free trade agreement and provisional trade agreement with selected countries and I am going around using my efforts all over to promote this area of free trade agreement or provisional trade agreement with all countries that matter which will give boost to our exports. Secondly we will be focusing on export potential to Africa, Latin America, Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Far East which previously had been neglected. Number three we will strength the trade developmental infrastructure this include supply chain management, export promotion bureau and emerging trade representatives abroad. Now this trade representatives abroad have to play there role and that is what I am always telling commerce ministers and we need to promote them.

Fourthly improve productivity through large scale 3 training and skill development initiatives and provide a modern infrastructure through trade development and through indigenous investment and foreign direct investment so these are the areas of rapid export growth strategy we are following and I think these are right guidelines for our exports to be boosted .

I must also say we need to value addition and in value addition other than textiles which is our strength where we need to still put in a lot of efforts, I would like to highlight two more areas we are fifth largest milk producers of the world but we have never utilizes this potentials of ours in form of value addition, in form of dairy products like cheese, butter, yogurt and milk power.

There was time in 1999-2000 you travel by PIA and eating Danish butter, Pakistan was non existent, I am very glad gradual shift is taking place but that need to be done faster that is why I went all the way to Newzealand and Australia to join investment, to strategize and to bring about white revolution in Pakistan.

It is doable and I know we are trying to that and we are achieving results and InshAllah in the future dairy will add value to our milk capacity and that will add to our exports. Other area is agriculture, we are an aggregarian society, we say that we have the best fruits and we say we have excellent vegetables but there is no fruit processing food processing industry of Pakistan. We do export at all. When you have any tinned stuff, it is all from abroad while we are the producers so I think there are lot of value additions requires in food and fruit processing because that would be agro base industry, that would go to root of poverty alleviation, job creation in the rural areas so I think this is very import that we value add in whatever we are doing.

I have highlighted especially textiles, dairy, fruits and food processing because this has tremendous potential. Talking of this expo centre Lahore, I am extremely glad, I have seen this design and I think it looks beautiful and I am very glad this is going to be achieve by December 2006 other than BOT projects, this will be the first time we would do something so fast so I would like to congratulate and commend entire team which has plan this and going to implement it.

I know you have the will to do therefore you will do it although seeing the environment of Pakistan one is rather pessimistic and I was shock when I heard this would be completed by 2006 and I ask are you saying 2006 or 2007 and I was pleasantly surprise it is 2006 and I am looking forward to your achievement and we will back you up as far I am concern.

First of all WAPDA and LESCO company must be upgraded so it can cater long term requirement of electricity load of this expo centre, we must do that WADPAD chairman would get the message today or tomorrow. The area around expo centre, I am and very strongly ecstatic sense we don’t have beautiful expo centre surrounded by terrible place around so therefore development area around must be in consulense with beauty of expo centre not only that the area around , I am told they need more land if this land is available we must made available for future expansion of expo centre the industry minister is here but I would make it a point to Chief Minister Punjab to give this land for further expansion of expo centre. I will committee here I will certainly tell the Prime Minister makes sure government provides the funds in a timely manner so that you meet the target of December 2006 because I know the facts I funds are not release on time, you can never achieved the target so your meeting the target really depend on Prime Minister and me.

We will meet our targets then we will accept your to meet you target

In conclusion Ladies and gentle men, I would like to express my gratitude to all of you and to Tariq Ikram and Humayyun Akhtar for inviting me and also indeed to Expo-centre Lahore for excellent job you have done and you tend doing.

By the grace of Allah , country is on rise and economy I s on the upsurge and we are going on the way very strongly to be the trade, investment and the energy corridor of whole region with us determine, with joint strategy of public-private sector , I have no reasons to doubt that we will keep rising and our economy will keep rising and InshAllah with rise of economy we will address the issue of poverty alleviation, job creation in the future therefore I look forward with hope and determination and with courage to keep Pakistan rising on a fast track InshAllah together we shall achieve it.

Thank you very much Ladies and Gentleman


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