Need trade, not aid, Shehbaz asks USAID
The US Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Pakistan Mission Director John Groarke called on Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif and discussed matters of mutual interest and the promotion of mutual cooperation in energy, agriculture and other sectors. Speaking on the occasion, the chief minister said Pakistan and the US enjoy excellent ties, but both the countries need to further promote trade and economic cooperation. He said that “we do not need aid; rather, we need trade. Therefore bilateral trade should be given more and more promotion and the private sector should also be encouraged to create more job opportunities.” He said that significant drop in load shedding has been observed due to the efforts of the government and work on the 3600 MW gas power projects is continuing. He said several power projects will be completed by the end of the current year that will eliminate load shedding and Pakistan will become selfsufficient in power production. He said that Punjab government was working on revolutionary projects in education, health and agriculture sectors. He said package of Rs100 billion is being implemented in Punjab for the welfare of farmers, besides giving subsidy on fertilisers. He said that reforms were being implemented in the education and health sectors, and effective measures have also been taken to protect the rights of women. He said that a special centre has been established in Multan to provide justice to the women who were a victim of torture. He said that thousands of intelligent but poor students have become doctors and engineers by getting financial aid from Punjab Education Endowment Fund. He said that the latest Metro Bus service is running successfully in Lahore Rawalpindi and Islamabad, while the project in Multan district has also been completed. The cooperation of USAID in agriculture and energy sectors is praiseworthy, he added. USAID mission director John Groarke said cooperation with Punjab will continue on a permanent basis; the efforts of Punjab government to improve agriculture production were inspirational. US Consul General Yuriy Fedkiw was also present, besides Provincial Finance Minister Dr Ayesha Ghaus-Pasha, Advisor Dr Umar Saif, P&D chairman, Punjab Investment Board CEO and other concerned officers.