—Says despite challenges, country to achieve over 4% economic growth
—Highlights economic success amid pandemic
—Blames past rulers for bad exports policies, huge circular debt
FROM UZMA ZAFAR
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday said that despite the 2018 worst balance of payment crisis, economic problems due to COVID-19, high commodity prices in international market and direct and indirect impact of humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, Pakistan was expected to achieve over 4% economic growth – which is a major success.
“Since we inherited huge circular debt, ant-exports policies, unstable financial conditions, less-competitive business environment and the policies of lower incentives for private sector, the present government’s three years are an economic success story,” he added.
The Prime Minister expressed these views while presiding over a meeting of the Macroeconomic Advisory Group here.
The meeting was attended by Federal Ministers Shaukat Tarin, Hmmad Azhar, Ch. Fawad Hussain, Asad Umar, Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, Syed Fakhar Imam, Minister of State Farrukh Habib, Advisor to PM Abdul Razzak Dawood, Special Assistants to PM Dr. Sania Nishtar, Dr. Shehbaz Gill, Governor State Bank Reza Baqir and senior officials concerned.
The Prime Minister said that Pakistan as compared to other countries of the region demonstrated exceptional performance in confronting the COVID—19.
He said the government’s policy of smart lockdowns, incentives for construction industry, social protection program and subsidy for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) helped move the economy forward on sustainable pace – a fact also appreciated by analysts at global level.
During the meeting, a comprehensive review of the country’s overall economy situation, government’s steps to minimize the impact of increase in the price of essential items and the government’s economic achievements over the last three years was presented.
The meeting was told owing to the strong measures taken for economic stabilization after successfully coming out of the fiscal crisis inherited from the previous government, Pakistan compared to other regional countries realized more economic progress even during the COVID-19 situation.
It was told that with 25% growth in exports and the highest ever 38% increase in tax revenue, the country also recorded an increase of 27% in remittances.
Moreover, the meeting was told that with record incomes in agriculture sector – transfer of an additional income of Rs. 1100 billion to farmers, record Rs. 900 billions of profit in industrial sector, development of Information Technology (IT) sector due to government’s policy and after the successful tariff negotiations with Independent Power Producers (IPPs), a downslide has also been witnessed in the monthly [power] circular debt.
In addition to the above, the government fulfilled its promise of a welfare state by launching the biggest social safety program under Ehsaas, brought institutional reforms and successfully complied with Financial Action Task Force (FATF’s) conditions which saved the country from going into the blacklist.
The meeting was also presented with proposals to mitigate the transfer of the effects of high global commodity prices to common people.
The proposals included an increase in incomes, purchasing power of the people, subsidies focused on middle and lower income classes and expansion of social safety net.
The Prime Minister directed the concerned departments to coordinate and implement the long term and short term plans for further betterment of both macroeconomic condition of the county and improvement in economic condition of the people.