President summons NA to meet on Monday

ISLAMABAD: President Pervez Musharraf has summoned the newly elected National Assembly to meet on 17th of this month in Islamabad. He made this announcement while addressing the first convocation of Pakistan Institute Development Economics here Tuesday. President said fare, free, transparent and peaceful elections have been held and he has signed the summary for the convening of the National Assembly.

Giving an overview of the national economy the president listed three challenges which the new government will have to overcome. He said firstly new government must sustain the economic growth secondly it must keep fighting terrorism and defeat it and thirdly it will have to ensure political stability which would be over arching for achieving the first two objectives.

President said there were terrible bomb blasts in Lahore today which must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. He described this heinous act as sheer madness in the name of great religion of Islam. He said nothing could be more damaging for the nation and for our religion than these acts of terrorism. He said the economy of Pakistan is under stress in three areas including the soaring oil prices in the world market which have crossed the hundred dollars of barrel mark, rising prices of edible oil and the wheat shortage.

President Musharraf said country needs to find substitute for oil and will have to go for power generation especially hydro, coal, gas and nuclear power generation for overcoming the energy shortage and reducing the burden on the economy. He said two billion dollars are being spent on the import of edible oil and we must find substitute by focusing on finding substitutes for edible oil.

He said the prices of wheat have surged in the international market with production declining globally. He said the new government will have to meet this challenge very boldly and will have to provide relief to the poorest of the poor through targeted intervention. He said government is already providing substantial subsidy on seven food items through utilities stores countrywide. Highlighting the economic achievements in the past eight years the president said the size of economy has risen from 64 billion dollars in 2002 160 billion dollars in 2007-08. He said per capita income has increased to over 900 dollars per annum and revenue collection which was near 306 billion rupees in 1999 today stands at 1,000 billion rupees.

He said export which were at nine billion dollars per annum have crossed eighteen billion dollars mark in the current fiscal year, FDI which was 300 million dollars has now reached eight billion dollars per annum and debt to GDP ratio has decreased from 101 percent to 52 percent much more than the European Bench mark. He said stock exchanges have crossed fifteen thousand points.-SANA

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Rubab Saleem

Rubab Saleem is Editor of Pakistan Times

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