Country needs Charter of Economy to steer out of economic strait-jacket: Zardari

President Asif Ali Zardari said on Friday that the country needed a Charter of Economy on the lines of Charter of Democracy to steer the nation out of the economic strait-jacket.He called upon the business community, entrepreneurs and political parties to join hands in collectively meeting the economic challenges facing the country.The President hailed the initiative undertaken recently by the Pakistan Economic Forum in bringing together all political parties and business houses on its platform for evolving a collective approach to solving the country’s economic problems, adding that the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) would also participate along with other political parties in the deliberations on economic issues.He said this while talking to representatives of foreign exchange companies, who called on him at the Aiwan-e-Sadr.

The President recalled his address to the Parliament in which he he had called upon the business community to give ownership to the economic policies, regardless of which government gives the policy.

He also called upon the foreign exchange companies to play their active role in rendering support for Charter of Economy. He asked them to take steps for encouraging overseas Pakistanis to avail the government’s incentive package for them to send home remittances through legal channels so as to maximize the inflow of capital.

By giving incentives to the Pakistanis living abroad our foreign remittances that were 6.4 billion dollars in 2007 have significantly increased and are set to cross the 11 billion dollar mark this year, the President said and added that the foreign exchange reserves of the country had reached record 17.5 billion dollars.

The delegation of Foreign Exchange Companies included Haji Haroon, H& H Exchange Company, Malik Muhammad Bostan, Pakistan Currency Exchange Company, Sheikh Ala-ud-Din, Ravi Exchange Company, Zafar Paracha, Paracha International Exchange, Nasir Yousaf, Habib Qatar International Exchange Pakistan and Naeem-ud-Din, Advisor, Exchange Companies Association of Pakistan.

Salman Farouqi, Secretary General, Shahid Kardar, Governor State Bank of Pakistan, Malik Asif Hayat, Secretary to President, Dr. Waqar Masood Khan, Secretary Finance, Amjad Ali Khan, Secretary Overseas Pakistanis Division, Salman Siddique, FBR Chairman and other high officials were also present. The President said that Pakistan Remittance Initiative (PRI) and incentive schemes have yielded positive results as witnessed by the growth inflows of remittances.

He urged for vigorous implementation of the incentive packages for expatriate Pakistanis to curb the illegal flows of remittances and facilitate their flow through official channels. The President said that the exchange companies were important market players and asked them to contribute in identifying illegal foreign exchange operators involved in illegal business in the country.

The President said that the country was faced with difficult economic situation and reiterated resolve of the government to pursue economic reforms and overcome the critical economic challenges facing the country.
He said that it was a collective responsibility of all to work together and join hands to overcome the challenges of the current economic situation and put the economy back on track.

The delegation of foreign exchange companies thanked the President for meeting and also apprised him about the various issues relating to their business. They also assured support of the exchange companies to the government’s initiative of curbing illegal flows of remittances – APP