ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will speak at a one-day pre-budget business conference today (Tuesday) to discuss ways to reach an agreement on economic policies. In line with the prime minister’s vision of the Charter of Economy and an inclusive economic policy-making approach, the conference will bring together leaders from various industries on a single platform for a lively and interactive debate. The Prime Minister will consider the participants’ suggestions for a thriving economy with a solid foundation for development. The PM’s vision of a Pakistan where people’s social, political, and economic rights are protected will be central to the conference. Through mutual consultation, the conference will attempt to develop measures to address people’s economic struggles and assist the country in getting back on track to a better future. The one-day conference will feature speakers from agriculture, information technology, textiles, manufacturing, and other industries. Participants will assess Pakistan’s current economic challenges and propose short, medium, and long-term solutions. The event will evaluate employment and business opportunities for all, thereby eliminating poverty and providing a decent standard of living for all. This initiative will also welcome participant recommendations for the budget 2022–23. It will also develop budget proposals for 2022–23 through an engagement process with stakeholders from the business community. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif stated during a separate meeting with a group of Japanese companies that his government was working to improve trade and investment ties with Japan. He stated that obstacles to the smooth operation of the investment infrastructure would be removed. In this regard, the prime minister established a committee to address the issues confronting Japanese companies in Pakistan as soon as possible and requested a report within a week. PM Sharif described Japan as a close friend of Pakistan and praised the country for being one of the largest donors to Pakistan in terms of public sector development. He stated that generous Japanese donations totaled $13 billion over seven decades and contributed significantly to Pakistan’s development. He mentioned that Japan’s International Cooperation Agency (JICA) played a positive role in providing Pakistan with the technical support to grant aid and bilateral loans through the conduct of technical feasibility studies. He recalled that in the 90s, several Japanese companies were operating in Pakistan and mentioned that in 2016, the agreement with automobile manufacturing company Suzuki resulted in providing employment to thousands of people. The prime minister appreciated the manner in which Japan focused on improving the public development sector, adding that he was personally inspired by the principles of Japanese business. He stressed immediate steps to exempt the Export Processing Zones from taxes. He invited the Japanese companies to invest in Pakistan’s diverse sectors, including coal in Thar, iron ore in Chiniot, renewable energy, infrastructure, and public transport. PM Sharif stated that Pakistan and Japan will commemorate the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations in 2022 and that by promoting cooperation, Pakistan can benefit from Japan’s experience. He stated that Pakistan values its bilateral ties with Japan and wishes to expand cooperation in various fields. The Japanese companies expressed complete confidence in Sharif’s current government’s business-friendly policies. They were also keen on investing more in electric vehicles, food processing, Special Economic Zones, textiles, telecommunications, and auto parts manufacturing. Representatives from Japanese countries were present, as well as Japan’s ambassador, Mitsuhiro Wada, and the Commercial Attache of Japan. The meeting was attended by federal ministers Khurram Dastagir, Miftah Ismael, Makhdoom Murtaza Mehmood, and the officials involved.