Imran says Pakistan showed exceptional performance in confronting Covid-19 pandemic
The government eyes over 4% economic growth this fiscal year despite the worst balance of payments crisis in 2018, economic problems due to Covid-19, high commodity prices in the international market and direct and indirect impact of a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.
Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Friday that Pakistan demonstrated exceptional performance in confronting the Covid-19 compared with other countries of the region. “Pakistan is expected to achieve over 4% economic growth – which is a major success,” he added, while chairing a meeting of the Macroeconomic Advisory Group.
“Since we inherited a huge circular debt, anti-exports policies, unstable financial conditions, less-competitive business environment and policies of lower incentives for private sector, the present government’s three years are an economic success story,” he added.
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The Macroeconomic Advisory Group meeting was attended by federal ministers Shaukat Tarin, Hammad Azhar, Fawad Chaudhry, Asad Umar, Khusro Bakhtiar, Fakhar Imam, Minister of State Farrukh Habib, Adviser to Prime Minister Razak Dawood, special assistants to prime minister Dr Sania Nishtar, Dr Shehbaz Gill, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Reza Baqir and senior officials.
Several proposals to mitigate the transfer of the effects of high global commodity prices to common people were tabled in the meeting. The proposals included increase in incomes, purchasing power of the people, subsidies focused on middle and lower income classes and expansion of social safety net.
During the meeting, a comprehensive review of the country’s overall economy situation, government’s steps to minimise the impact of increase in the price of essential items and the government’s economic achievements over the last three years was presented.
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The meeting was informed that the country achieved more economic progress even during the Covid-19 situation compared with other regional countries because of strong measures taken for the economic stabilisation after successfully coming out of the fiscal crisis inherited from the previous government.
The Group was apprised of 25% growth in exports and the highest ever 38% increase in tax revenues, a recorded increase of 27% in remittances and a downslide in the monthly [power] circular debt after successful tariff negotiations with the Independent Power Producers (IPPs).
Moreover, the meeting was informed that with record incomes in agriculture sector – an additional income of Rs1,100 billion was transferred to farmers.
In addition to these developments, the government fulfilled its promise of a welfare state by launching the biggest social safety programme under Ehsaas, brought institutional reforms and successfully complied with Financial Action Task Force (FATF’s) conditions.
Imran told the participants that the government’s policy of smart lockdowns, incentives for construction industry, social protection programme and subsidy for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) helped move the economy forward on sustainable pace.
The prime minister directed the departments concerned 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.