LAHORE - Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said on Saturday the government had decided not to sell national assets, but to offer public-private partnership to the foreign investors.

Talking to a group of senior columnists here at the Governor’s House, she said the government would protect the national assets and generate revenue through public-private partnership, adding that investors would invest, pay and earn as per the international practices.

“International practices will be followed in the bidding process for the public-private partnership to be offered to the investors,” she assured, adding the process of inviting international bidders had begun.

The SAPM said as part of the two-pronged policy, tourism would be promoted for revenue generation, besides offering national assets for public-private partnership.

She said the previous regimes had badly failed to promote the soft image of the country; only one face of the country smeared with terrorism was depicted by the foreign media in the past.

She said tourism was being promoted to show moderate and enlightened face of Pakistan to the world. Dr Firdous said tourism policy would shortly be announced in consultations with provincial governments, hoping the tourists would also bring investment with them.

Says govt to revive sick national assets through public-private partnership

Briefing columnists on the economy, Dr Firdous said the government was faced with bankruptcy when it came to power as the PML-N government had left the foreign reserves adequate for merely two weeks due to its poor economic policies.

She was of the view that regimes in the past borrowed loans as a temporary arrangement, leaving the incumbent government under huge debts to settle.

She disclosed the government’s plan to formulate Terms of Reference (ToR) for the governments borrowing foreign loans to repay these before the end of their term so that the successive governments do not have to bear the brunt of the economic burden.

SAPM said Prime Minister Imran Khan wanted to introduce reforms in all organizations. “FBR is bein g restructured to purge the Board of 5 percent of the black sheep,” she said, adding the best way was to introduce automation in the department.

She said technology-based mechanism had been introduced by the FBR.

She further said that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan believed in austerity, adding that austerity drive was led by prime minister himself when he refused to live in the Prime Minister’s House.

Dr Firdous said that unlike rulers in the past, Imran did not declare any camp office for himself, thus preventing the loss of billion of rupees to the national economy.

About the government’s plans on wealth creation, she said industrialization was the main focus of the government besides bringing back the industrialists who

had fled the country due to poor policies of the previous governments. “100 industries were closed down during the tenures of PPP and PML-N while the GDP was imports-based which was no good for the country,” she said, and added the government wanted to increase exports while one window operation had been started to facilitate the industry and foreign investors.

She said 27 inspectors of different departments monitored and regulated the industry in the past, adding the PTI government had created an inspector-less regime for the industry as no inspector would visit any factory to harass the businessmen.

SAPM said the government was in talks with Bangladesh and Malaysia to learn from their economic experiences.

She assured government’s full support to those who wanted to start new industry or reopen their industrial zones.

About Prime Minister Imran Khan’s China visit, she said China had endorsed Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir, adding China was going to extend CPEC 2 and had reposed confidence in the policies of the government.

On Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s Azadi March and the sit-in, she said the Kashmiris and the world observed 27th October as a Black Day across the world while Fazlur Rehman chose the day for his march against the government, adding the government was looking into the motives behind this protest call.

She said Fazl’s protest call was without cause, adding Allama Tahirul Qadri had staged a sit-in to raise voice against the Model Town killings by the then Punjab CM Shehbaz Sharif while Tehreek-e-Labaik protested to safeguard Namoos-e-Risalat.

Dr Firdous said Maulana call for the march was motiveless, adding he was protesting to ensure the release of those who had been nabbed by the NAB.

SAPM said the government had nothing to do with the arrests made by NAB, adding Nawaz Sharif was facing the courts over his failure to give the money trail of his untenable accounts while cases against Asif Ali Zardari were instituted by former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.

About the protesters, she said the law would take its course if the protestors tried to take law into their own hands, adding the provincial governments were free to maintain law and order.

About the sacking of journalists and media workers, she said the government had taken up the issue with private media houses, adding the private media houses were beyond government control in hiring and firing of their staffers.

To a query, she said the government would not relent on the law-breakers and the corrupt, adding it had nothing to do with the NAB or ANF as the institutions were autonomous.

To another query, Dr Firdous said PM Imran was the protector of Namoos-e-Risalat and sang praises of holy Prophet Muhammad (S.A.A.W) before the whole world during the UNGA session.

To another question, she said the government had to take hard economic decisions to pull the country out of economic quagmire, adding the government had taken loans from friendly countries on easy terms.

Later, talking to media here, Firdous said the economic policies of PM Imran were being appreciated at international level. She said today the world was witnessing an enlightened, moderate and progressive image of Pakistan.

She said the inclination of international investors, marketing companies and brands had increased towards Pakistan, adding different business groups of world consider the country as future economic hub and emerging economy.

The special assistant to the PM said arrival of an international brand to the country not only fetched foreign investment but was also creating job opportunities.

She said economy of the country was moving in right direction and now positive results were reaching to the people due to the policies of the government.