Federal Minister for Industries and Production Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar has said it is a must for all the governments and its policymakers to pay full attention to the city of Karachi to achieve a sustainable high economic growth of 6-7% per annum.

“Why Karachi? Because this is the city of ports, there is business wisdom and business spirit,” Bakhtiar said while addressing at a press conference at Sindh Governor House on Friday.

Imports and exports from the city of ports remain viable. “We have to uplift Karachi if we want to achieve the required sustainable economic growth of 6-7%.”

The government has signed agreements with global mobile phone manufacturers and marketers Nokia and Samsung to set up their smartphone-making units in Pakistan, he said.

The government is all set to introduce a low mark-up car financing scheme for small engine cars so that owning a car would become feasible for a largest number of people and households in the country, he said.

“The car manufacturers, however, have to justify their prices and it is being made mandatory for them to manufacture parts in the country as well…to cut the fast rising import bill,” he said.

The demand for steel in the country stands at 10 million tons per annum at present. “The demand is estimated to double to 20 million tons by the year 2024-25,” he said, adding the situation demands the government to revive Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) through its privatisation.

The demand for steel shoots up whenever the production and sale of cars spike and construction industry gears up. “We are for setting up more steel mills through joint ventures on public-private partnership model,” he said.

The government is also set to introduce ore (a raw material for steel production) mining policy in April 2022. This would pave the way for increasing steel production in the country.

Prime Minister Imran Khan is scheduled to arrive in Karachi next week to inaugurate Karachi Circular Railways (KCR) project, he said.

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Governor Ismail said the city’s first mass transit project Green Line is set for trial run next month in October.

Bakhtiar said, “As soon as we cross 5% growth in GDP (gross domestic product), our economy starts overheating, the gap between demand and supply of dollars widens which mount pressure on the rupee (against the dollar and other world major currencies.”

The government aims to cut imports through increasing localisation of production and ramping up exports, he said.

According to a latest survey, 50% exports of Pakistan are achieved by Karachi alone. “To me, if Karachi receives its due attention…and if we want to spend taxpayers’ money in any direction, it should be spent to increase export potential. It will bring a positive impact across the Pakistan.”

Published in The Express Tribune, September 11th, 2021.

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