Corruption behind wealth flight to foreign countries: PM Imran

LAHOREPrime Minister Imran Khan has said that the wealth flight to foreign countries was due to corruption in Pakistan and the import of expensive material is fuelling inflation here.

Addressing the inauguration ceremony of Lahore Technopolis, a special technology zone, on Thursday, the prime minister said that technology is such a sector that can repay Pakistan’s all debts.

The prime minister said the IT sector would also address the issue of unemployment to the youth particularly the women besides boosting the country’s exports. He lauded Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar and other relevant ministers for allocating 800 acres of land for the purpose, which he said was the “future of the world”.

Exemplifying Amazon, Google and other tech giants, Imran Khan said during COVID-19, all other businesses had faced a slump but the profits of the tech companies multiplied during the pandemic.

However, he said unfortunately, Pakistan lagged behind in the sector despite having ideal conditions including a huge young population. He said within 15-20 years, Indian tech exports boomed to $150 billion while Pakistan could reach only $2 billion.

He said that if incentivized and facilitated the technology industry could help overcome the current account deficit of the country by boosting exports as well as addressing the issue of unemployment. He said the project would help provide incentives to the tech industry and bring ease for the businessmen, in accordance with the government’s vision.

Special Technology Zones being developed all across the country would be home to Science & Technology Parks, manufacturing units, research and development centers of global tech companies, and software houses. It will also feature, universities, incubators, accelerators, and other ecosystem players. Before Lahore, Islamabad Technopolis was also announced earlier this year.

Imran Khan in his speech said as the country started achieving economic growth, the current account got disturbed owing to the import of the machinery which ultimately devalued the local currency and made the country approach IMF for loans. The country can only come out of this cycle unless it boosts its exports and allows wealth creation, he added.

Citing the Chinese model of development, the prime minister said the country achieved remarkable progress and steered 700 million people out of poverty by eliminating corruption by jailing over 450 ministerial-level people and enhancing exports.

The prime minister called for redirecting the orientation of the government as well as the population towards enhancing exports and wealth creation. He said taking advantage of its 12 climatic zones, the country could reduce its import bill of commodities like edible oil through indigenous production of palm oil.

Calling them the biggest asset, the prime minister also emphasized the involvement of the overseas Pakistanis towards investment and wealth creation in Pakistan. He said China and India had also first attracted their own firms operating abroad to invest at home.

He said the Pakistani individuals as well as the firms operating abroad including the Silicon Valley were interested to invest in Pakistan which necessitated incentives and ease of doing business.

Prime Minister Imran Khan said the objective behind establishing the Technopolis projects in Lahore, Karachi and KP was to make Pakistan join the tech race and provide employment to the people.

Earlier, the prime minister also distributed licenses among the companies which would be operating in the Technopolis.

The event also marked the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for an investment of $300 million for the establishment of another three technology zones in different parts of the country.

Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar said Lahore had been selected as the Technopolis considering the existence of universities and other tech institutes as well as companies in the city. He said the project would help carry out technology-based researches and studies.

In order to attract investment to Technopolis, the government had given a 10-year tax exemption to companies operating there. The companies from various countries like US, Canada, China and Australia were approaching to invest there, he added. TF Report

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