By: Sajid Aziz

KARACHI: The Lasbela Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has demanded steps to bring back billions of dollars stashed by wealthy Pakistanis in the Swiss banks and other countries.

The President, LCCI, Ismail Suttar said in a statement that all the political parties should play their role to bring back money to Pakistan which is a more important issue than any other issue in hand at the moment .

He said that newly elected Prime Minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi could play a pivotal role in this regard.

In 2014 our finance minister revealed that Pakistanis have $200 billion in the Swiss Banks. If other foreign banks, offshore companies, investment in the property market of Dubai and Malaysia etc. is added, the amount can jump well over $300 billion dollars, he maintained.

He said that entire amount isn’t the stolen funds but many have transferred their money abroad due to fear of losing it to inconsistent policies and political uncertainty.

For the same reason many industries have also been shifted abroad that can be convinced to come back, he added. This situation can be changed if some of the money is brought back to Pakistan which will end our dependency on IMF.

Those who have transferred their funds abroad are getting a negligible profit; if they are convinced and offered better returns, they may bring their money back and invest it into industry and SMEs.

He said that presently there is no scarcity of investment in Pakistan but the majority of the businessmen prefer unproductive sectors like real estate and stock exchange because investment in productive sectors is considered risky.

The government should try to change the direction of the investment to productive sectors which will boost GDP, generate jobs and revenue, he demanded.

He said that Pakistanis are one of the most gifted people on this planet while our country has matchless resources and potential but it frequently remains on the brink of bankruptcy which allows other countries to dictate their damaging policies.

He said that the Government could bring back the looted and plundered money easily as Swiss government has already showed its consent to help in this regard.

In short until and unless the government takes bold steps towards rapid industrialization in Pakistan the problems of the masses will not be sorted out.

This is the right time for Prime minister Abbasi to look into this personally and decide to have an industrial policy in place since he also has a new commerce minister although not known to many but one should pin high hopes and try to give him a chance to play his role for the betterment of industrial growth.

Pakistan cannot afford to become a trading nation with this blast in population growth which is the only sector growing constantly for decades specially with the level of education we have in Pakistan it is very important to concentrate on the SME’s so that each and every household gets busy in adding to the GDP.