President Dr Arif Alvi on Wednesday called upon the public and private sectors to join hands in supporting the government’s efforts for the documentation of national economy.
He urged the businessmen to play an active role in encouraging business community to pay taxes so that budget deficit could be reduced and more funds be allocated for development work.
The president expressed these views while talking to a delegation of Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industries (LCC&I) led by President LCC&I, Mian Tariq Misbah-ur-Rehman, here at the Aiwan-e-Sadr.
President Alvi said the government was committed to provide a competitive and fair business environment to entrepreneurs and build a sustainable economy.
He stated that the government was taking care of business community and under-privileged sections of society and, in this regard, had provided historic stimulus package of Rs. 1.2 Trillion as economic relief to help business community and poor strata of society.
The president assured the delegation that he would ask the concerned quarters to help address their problems.
The President said the country’s economy despite the pandemic was performing well as is evident from the increase in tax collection and a surge in exports.
Expressing satisfaction over the economic performance, the President said that the country’s exports during the last 10 months grew by 13 percent to $20.879 billion as compared to $18.408 billion during the corresponding period last year.
Similarly, the revenue collection exceeded its target of Rs. 3.637 trillion by more than Rs. 143 billion during the last 10 months of the current Fiscal Year. He stated that the business-friendly policy of the government led to an improvement in Ease of Doing Business Index with the country’s ranking going up from 136th positon to 108th position.
The delegation appreciated the economic policies of the government, particularly the historic stimulus package provided during the pandemic. The delegates also informed the President about the problems being faced by the business community.
Provincial Minister for Environment, Forest and Wildlife, Syed Ishtiaq Urmar here on Wednesday said that half of the plantation target under 10 billion trees afforstration project (10BTAP) has been achieved in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and efforts were underway to plant the remaining 500 million plants before 2023 to counter environmental pollution and climate change challenges.
“We have successfully achieved half of the plantation target ie 500 million saplings out of the assigned one billion trees through afforstration, farms forestry and natural regeneration with the help of forest enclosures in KP,” said the Minister in an interview with APP.
Till March 15 last, a total 442 million plants including 362 million through plantation, farms forestry and 180 million through forest enclosures were planted in KP. The Minister reaffirmed his department strong commitment to achieve remaining half of the set target before 2023.
BTAP’s first phase has been successfully completed under which about 1.208 billion saplings were planted through 4,509 enclosures on 306,983 hectares and manmade plantations on 263,213 hectares, sowing carried out over 23096 hectares besides 593,292 hectares areas were treated during 2014-17 with 88pc survival rate as reported by WWF. Thus, KP’s forest area has been increased to 6.5 percent that was Internationally recognized.
The Minister said green jobs were provided to over 500,000 persons during first phase of BTAP in KP despite coronavirus pandemic.
The initial cost of BTAP for five years was Rs 28,000 million that was later reduced to Rs22,000 million and 120pc of the target of one billion trees had been achieved at a cost of about Rs12,982 million, thus about Rs9018 million were saved for Govt. kitty.
BTAP is the world 4th biggest plantation drive after China, India and Ethiopia, which had surpassed the BONN Challenge’s commitment of restoring and rehabilitation of the degraded forests and raising new plantations over 3,48,00 hectares.
Similarly, additional 252,000 hectares forest restoration pledge of KP Government has been officially accepted by BONN Challenge during its meeting held in Brazil in March 2018, he added.
The Minister said BTAP was also recognized by Asian Protected Area Partnership, World Economic Forum, Conference of Parties (COP-21), WWF and IUCN, which is a great honour for Pakistan.
He said SOPs were strictly followed in plantation campaign, adding 10 BTAP has provided jobs to unemployed labourers, farmers, nursarymen and women in raising of nurseries in KP.
The Minister said for the first time, olive cultivation, bees flora plants and fruits for all has made part of 10BTAP under Green Pakistan program of tye Prime Minister to generate employment opportunities for people, allievate poverty and combat climate change challenges.
The Minister said all seven tribal districts of erstwhile Fata, Suleiman Mountains near Waziristan, West Bank of River Indus and KP was declared most suitable for commercial olive cultivation.