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Government Expects Over 4% Economic Growth This Year: Imran Khan

by Newsweek Pakistan

Photo courtesy PID

Pakistan’s prime minister claims incumbent government’s first three years are an ‘economic success story’

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday said that Pakistan was expected to achieve more than 4 percent economic growth in the ongoing fiscal year, noting that this came about despite several major local and international challenges.

“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 claimed during a meeting of the Macroeconomic Advisory Group, reiterating the incumbent government’s stance that ongoing economic woes are a result of the policies of the previous rulers.

Stressing that in addition to the challenge posed by the 2018 balance-of-payments crisis, the government had also faced economic problems due to COVID-19; high commodity prices in international market; and the direct and indirect impact of a looming humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, he claimed the government’s policies had proven successful.

Compared to its regional neighbors, said the prime minister, Pakistan demonstrated “exceptional performance” in confronting the COVID-19 pandemic. He said the government’s smart lockdown policy, coupled with incentives for the construction industry, social protection programs and subsidy for small and medium enterprises had helped the country’s economy progress sustainably, claiming this had been appreciated by analysts globally.

The Macroeconomic Advisory Group meeting reviewed the country’s overall economy situation, as well as the government’s steps to minimize the impact of inflation on the common man, and its economic achievements over the last three years. The participants were briefed on the measures taken for economic stabilization and was informed that the country had witnessed 25% growth in exports; 38% increase in tax revenue; and 27% in remittances.

The meeting was also told that the government’s policies had allowed for a reduction to the monthly circular debt, as well as “record” profits for the agriculture sector thanks to the transfer of an additional Rs. 1,100 billion to farmers. The industrial sector, it said, had recorded Rs. 900 billion profit, and the information technology sector had also prospered.

The participants were told that the government had fulfilled its promise of a welfare state by launching the a social safety program under the Ehsaas initiative, and had brought about institutional reforms that complied with the requirements of the Financial Action Task Force to prevent the country from entering its blacklist. Despite these efforts, the country remains on the watchdog’s grey-list.

Authorities concerned presented the meeting with proposals to mitigate the impact of high global commodity prices on common people, including increasing income; purchasing power; expanding social safety nets; and providing targeted subsidies for the middle and lower income classes. The prime minister, per a statement issued by his Office, directed the departments concerned to coordinate and implement both long- and short-term plans to improve both macroeconomic and economic conditions of the people.

In addition to the prime minister, the meeting was attended by Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, Energy Minister Hammad Azhar, Information Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, Planning Minister Asad Umar, Industries and Production Minister Khusro Bakhtiar, National Food Security Minister Fakhar Imam, Minister of State Farrukh Habib, Advisor to the P.M. Abdul Razzak Dawood, and special assistants to the P.M. Sania Nishtar and Shahbaz Gill, as well as State Bank Governor Reza Baqir and other senior officials.

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