Tuesday, November 24, 2020
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Economic indicators

IN a press briefing, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh enumerated the achievements of the government on economic front, which included 5 percent growth in large scale manufacturing with bumper sale of cement and automobile products, lowering current account deficit from $20 billion to $3 billion in the previous fiscal year and its turning over to surplus of $792 million in the first quarter of the current fiscal year. He also expressed satisfaction over the tax collection of Rs.1340 billion by FBR in the past four mont6hs and liberal tax refunds to business community. However, former Chairman FBR Shabbar Zaidi has called spade a spade that still the political elite is defeating the initiatives for creating a tax compliant culture in the country.
The Advisor on Finance also referred to the fallout of expensive short term loans acquired by the previous government the brunt of which is borne by the present government in the shape of interest payments of Rs.5000 billion. He claimed that PTI government has freezed the public debt at Rs.30.4 trillion and has stopped increase in domestic debt. However, he did not say anything about the causes of hydra-headed monster of galloping inflation that is hitting hard both producers and consumers.
There is no iota of doubt that the government has made short term gains but no short term strategy and long term plan are in sight to achieve a sustainable economic growth at the rate of 7 percent. It is the expansion of productive capacity of the economy with utilisation of revenue generated from domestic sources that increase, output, income and employment. It is the creation of favourable economic environment with low electricity tariff, progressive taxation regime, induction of latest technologies and skill development that can pave the way for second phase of industrialisation in the country. Will the ruling leadership learn from the growth models adopted by Bangladesh, Vietnam and Cambodia? The answer is a big no. The present ruling leadership used to lambast the PML-N governments for spending expensive foreign loans on least productive projects like motorways and metro bus services but now they are implementing the same lopsided economic policies. The myopic vision and recourse to adhoc policies is evident from not moving an inch toward formulation of long term agriculture, industrial policies and trade policies.


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