Pakistan PM Imran Khan says ‘red-tape’ chokes development of projects

Dubai: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that development projects he launched have been hampered due to the ‘red-tape’ culture in the country.

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With an obvious reference to the country’s entrenched bureaucracy, Imran said that red-tapism chokes development projects in the country.

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Referring to complexities of systems in the country, Imran said: “Unfortunately, the government system was hampered with red tape leading to its degeneration. Such hurdles created hold-ups on the way to development.”

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Speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony of Quaid-e-Azam Business Park, being developed outside Lahore in Sheikhhypura, Imran said his government was busy reforming systems, ending red tapism and in the true sense of the word ensuring ease-of-doing-business for the people. Imran maintained that the system could not be reformed overnight though the process of reformation of state institutions had begun.

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Sharing his experience with the government system, he said an in-built system existed, which did not let anyone work easily and without hurdles. He said construction of five million affordable houses for the low-income groups was his government’s flagship programme and to expedite it, Naya Pakistan Housing Authority was created, reported APP.

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‘Battle within the system’

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Imran said during the last few months, he was personally supervising the initiative and regretted that difficulties in the system had choked the development pace. “There was a battle within the system. For the common man who wanted to start his small business, difficulties had been created through an intricate system, which often led to an individual’s discouragement,” he added.

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The prime minister said when he was in the United Kingdom during his stay for studies or for cricket, he saw how the common people from Pakistan excelled after setting up their small business there, because the system had facilitated them.

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Small-and-medium enterprises

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He said for the first time in the country’s history, his government had given incentives to the construction industry. The prime minister assured that the government would provide all possible facilities to small-and-medium industries to grow, adding that the results of these policies might take some time to show, but the right direction had been set. He further informed that numerous Chinese companies showed a keen interest in the business park, but he would like to have further simplifications in the procedures.

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Imran assured that the government would fully facilitate small-and-medium industries, businessmen and industrialists with initiatives such as ease-of-doing business.

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The prime minister appreciated the business-friendly steps taken by the Punjab government and said setting up nine economic zones and incentives-laden package by the provincial government were steps in the right direction.

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One-window operation

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He also appreciated Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar for the good selection of the business park site between two big cities — Faisalabad and Lahore — which are the two major hubs of businesses. He termed the setting up of one-window operation at the Quaid-e-Azam Business Park as a step in the right direction to facilitate investors and industrialists.

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Speaking on the occasion, Buzdar said Quaid-e-Azam Business Park is spread over an area of 1,536 acres, with space for 653 small-and-medium industrial units and located near to Lahore and motorway.

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About 500,000 people would get jobs from this initiative, he said and informed that Rs56 billion (Dh1.2 billion) of tax relief will also be provided by the provincial government to counter the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Other initiatives aimed at ensuring ease-of-doing-business include a fund of Rs12 billion, to be provided to young people to start their own businesses.

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Focus on public representatives

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PM Imran has, for the first time, shifted his focus from the provincial civil bureaucracy to public representatives, directing the Punjab chief minister to communicate closely with members of the national and provincial assemblies and get their feedback about the prevalence of corruption and quality of governance in the province.

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During his visit to Lahore, apart from Buzdar, Imran also met the legislators from his party. He assured Buzdar that he could continue serving as the chief executive of the province until the completion of his government’s constitutional term in 2023. 
Punjab Information Minister Fayyazul Hassan Chohan also endorsed that Buzdar had the full support of the prime minister.

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