Udayavni Special

Imran Khan laments lack of long-term planning in Pakistan


PTI, May 31, 2021, 6:05 PM IST

Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday said that politicians in the country had abandoned long-term planning for short-term electoral gains, resulting in the country slipping in global rankings.

“Unfortunately, one of Pakistan’s biggest weaknesses is the implementation of projects. In my government I am also seeing that some things lag behind when it comes to implementation,” he said while launching the country’s first-ever green Eurobond by the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda), which aims to bring investment for building dams.

“A nation cannot progress if you carry out planning from one election to the next,” he said, adding that there was a need to invest in the country’s children and think about where the country is headed.

Khan lamented the fact that Pakistan”s potential had not been utilised and said that the country’s position in the world slipped due to lack of forward planning.

“When (Finance Minister) Shaukat Tarin and I were growing up in Pakistan, the country had a different status in the world. Our economy at one point was at the fourth spot in all of Asia,” Khan said, adding that the nation”s Planning Commission had built a strong foundation based on the future needs.

Khan said that after 1985 India started progressing rapidly. Long-term planning also helped Bangladesh progress, he said.

Khan congratulated the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) for laying out the drafts for 10 dams to be built in the next decade on the Indus river.

“It would not only produce 10,000 megawatt of electricity but would also produce clean energy which is environment-friendly,” he said.

Last week, the Wapda introduced the first-ever green Eurobonds, a debt instrument to raise money for eco-friendly projects in the country.

The bonds will be issued for 10 years to raise USD 500 million at a competitive price of about 7.5 per cent interest rate.

Wapda officials said international investors have shown interest, offering USD 3 billion investments.

Officials said USD 800 million would be enough for Wapda”s needs for the next five years. Khan said the government was focusing on the threat posed by climate change.

He said as part of the ”10 Billion Tree Tsunami Programme”, 1 billion trees have been planted since 2018.

“Nurseries have been created and we are hopeful that we will complete our goal by 2023,” he said. He also said the government was working to reform the education system to bring social cohesion, as well as bring religious seminaries into the main system.

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