Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s statement that industrialization is gaining momentum in the country after the government overcame energy shortage can be regarded as a fresh blow of air, indicating his sense of responsibility and vision about the national economy. In his address to the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr Abbasi expressed the desire to cut the cost of doing business in the country which is a big hurdle in the way of foreign investment. He also pointed out that the government cannot handle all the economic matters alone and it is the private sector which has to play its role in the establishment of new industries. The government can only assure the supply of gas and electricity at affordable prices in the industrial areas. The prime minister has correctly pointed out problems faced by startups and investors at the hands of the government departments and agencies. A standard operating system is the need of the hour to facilitate local and foreign investors and raise the position of Pakistan in ease of doing business index. The tax system is also an amalgamation of conflicts and controversies, leaving little room for the genuine taxypayers to save them from the black sheep in the tax collection agency.
Though the prime minister has promised to introduce a taxpayer-friendly culture, an environment of harassment prevails among the medium and small level businessmen. On the financial side, the banks will also have to introduce business friendly policies by offering loans to new startups. In the current situation, the large industrial units enjoy the best business deals with the banking sector, but small and medium entrepreneurs have to go a long way to reach that stage. The establishment of industrial zones along the Motorway and the China Pakistan Economic Corridor will be a good idea to promote business and industrial sectors in the country. However, provinces should also come forward and play their role in the promotion of business, industry and trade in their jurisdictions. Looking toward the central government for assistance should not be the only option for the provincial governments. Despite a huge potential, the exports of the country have come down to $20 billion from $25 billion in five years. On the other hand, imports have increased, creating trade deficit and adding burden to the foreign exchange reserves. The prime minister should have to be proactive to implement his words in letter and spirit.