ISLAMABAD: Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance & Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh has said the government is taking steps to tackle inflation and enhance domestic productivity through greater spending on social safety net, improving cash transfer programme, ensuring greater ease of doing business and providing subsidized loans, electricity and gas to the exporters. “The government has worked very hard to pull the economy out of the ICU as it was in 2018, and the stage is now set for greater stabilization and enhanced domestic productivity that would help overcome inflation, boost businesses and create more employment opportunities,” he said while talking to Ambassador of France Dr. Marc Barety who called on the Adviser at Finance Division on Tuesday. Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said that the government was focusing on revitalizing the agriculture sector and several mega projects had been approved for improving irrigation management, watercourses and construction of water storage facilities at the farm level. These projects are also aimed at productivity enhancement of various crops, oilseeds enhancement, cage culture development, shrimp farming cluster development and water conservation in arid areas. He said the government had doubled the social safety budget from Rs 100 billion to Rs 190 billion while it had also recently revamped its cash transfer programme by replacing nearly 800,000 people with more deserving people. The government had also recently launched a special food package at a cost of Rs 7 billion to provide essential food items at reduced rates through the utility stores to the poor segment of population adversely affected by the food inflation. On the macro front, he said the government had brought down the current account deficit from 20 billion dollars to 13 billion dollars and it would be further reduced to 8 billion dollars this year. Similarly, exports which had remained stagnant for almost five years had showing an upward trend. He said the revenue collection had jumped by 16 per cent and foreign direct investment had gone up by 280 per cent growth in the current financial year. Similarly, Pakistan’s exchange rate had begun to stabilize due to enhanced external flows while Pakistan Stock Exchange had been declared by Bloomberg as the best performing market in the world. France Ambassador to Pakistan Dr. Marc Barety said he was impressed with the good work done by the government in Pakistan to introduce institutional reforms and achieve stability and growth. He said both France and Pakistan enjoyed excellent relationship and hoped this relationship would further deepen in coming days through greater economic collaborations and business partnerships.