September 17, 2018 (MLN): President Pakistan Dr. Arif Alvi while addressing the nation in his inaugural speech at the National Assembly on Monday touched on a vast range of issues of concern to the nation, highlighting issues of economic and social nature as well as external relations of the country.
Dr. Alvi, while talking about water conservation in light of the issue of water scarcity implored the idea of using spray and drip irrigation systems, in lieu of the widely used flood irrigation system that leads to the wastage of water on agricultural lands.
He urged the government towards construction of more dams, taking into account the better water flow in northern regions of the country such as Azad Kashmir.
With respect to the agriculture sector, he stressed on the need for a comprehensive policy from the government for this sector and suggested that consultations be established between the government and experts for the uplifting of this vital sector.
He also spoke about preventing line losses and electricity theft and urged the government to improve transmission infrastructure so that all sources of electricity generation are promptly connected with the national grid.
With regard to the social issues of concern, he emphasized the need to address the issue of youth employment, saying that employment must be generated on the basis of merit and through the pursuance of skill developments. It would be wiser to export skilled, rather than unskilled labor of the country to foreign nations, which would not only bring improved remittances to the country, but would also improve on the country’s reputation on foreign lands, he said.
To foster entrepreneurship and aid small-scale individuals and businesses, he urged the government to improve accessibility to small loans for them, and briefly touched on social issues like women empowerment, education, investing in human capital, and stunted children, saying that many of these issues are related to the ‘vicious cycle of poverty’ that must be addressed at the earliest.
He spoke at length on the economic woes of the country, mentioning troubles on the external front, rising debt levels, increasing unemployment, higher cost of debt servicing and the country’s historic high trade deficit of $36 billion in the outgoing financial year. He also highlighted the massive depreciation of the local currency against the dollar and said that it was causing increased inflationary pressures on domestic items, burdening the local populace especially the salaried class.
He demanded the government to construct a road map for all sectors of the economy and come up with investment friendly policies with a focus on improving the ease of doing business. He also asked the government to resolve the problems of state owned enterprises and asked of bankers to become proactive in helping the government with these agendas. He also called on overseas Pakistanis to contribute in the mission of job creation via investments and also hoped that experts would pitch in their recommendations to aid the government in meeting these challenges.
On foreign policy, President Alvi reiterated the country’s resolve to maintain mutually beneficial ties with all nations of interest, specifically naming China, Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United States of America. He then mentioned the desire to improve on ties in particular with Islamic nations, and also brought up the desire to improve on ties with Russia. A special mention was accorded to Turkey, which according to Dr. Alvi, has been contributing towards regional growth.
Dr. Alvi also expressed his desire to have neighborly relations with India and communicated his moral and social support for the uplifting of Kashmiris.
Copyright Mettis Link News