SHEIKHUPURA, Jul 24 (NNI): Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday said that the utilization of modern technology and alternative energy by the industrial sector were inevitable to make their exports competitive with the international market.

The prime minister, addressing the soft launching of Ombre Special Economic Zone, Sundar Green Special Economic Zone and Smart Special Economic Zone here, said owing to surging oil prices, the only option was to exploit the potential of solar, wind and hydel energy for the cost-effectiveness of the local products.

He said the issue of circular debt was required to be addressed on a war-footing basis which was swelling due to line losses, transmission losses as well as power theft, also wasting billions of rupees annually.

The prime minister appreciated the private sector for chalking out a plan to establish the said three special economic zones and assured all-out support from the federal and Punjab governments.

He said the commitment by the private sector to attract investment worth billions of rupees was also laudable, besides their plans to establish a three-megawatt solar power plant and other allied facilities like the vocational training center.

He hoped that the interim government would also take all possible measures to keep the national economy on track of progress, as the incumbent government was already making necessary legislation to pave the way for future course of action.

The prime minister told the gathering that an agreement between Pakistan and Azerbaijan for the import of LNG was signed earlier on the day under which the latter would provide an LNG shipment per month with the former having the option to purchase it or not, in accordance with the needs and without any penalty.

Similarly, he said the private sector should also sign the deals with Qatar to import LNG for industrial use – not for sale in the market – and assured that the federal government would facilitate them at Karachi Port.

Prime Minister Shehbaz also called for spreading the network of SEZs across the country. He said during Nawaz Sharif’s term, SEZs were planned across the country under China Pakistan Economic Corridor but, despite complete mapping and other formalities, all of the projects faced unnecessary delay, except the one Rashakai.

He said as the IMF agreement had been signed to ebb away the risk of default and put the country on course toward progress.

The prime minister said as far as the SEZs by the government sector were concerned, the government would provide land free of charge to the investors, as it had done for the Bahawalpur Solar Park.

However, he said the use of SEZs’ land for non-industrial use would not be tolerated and recalled similar “misconduct” by some parties in Faisalabad and other SEZs where people had been minting money by selling out the land. NNI


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