In televised address to mark 74th Independence Day, prime minister claims country’s exports increased during pandemic
Pakistan’s economic situation is improving, indicating that people’s confidence in the country is on the rise, Prime Minister Imran Khan claimed on Friday.
Addressing the nation in a televised address to mark the country’s 74th Independence Day, Khan said he hoped to see an “industrial Pakistan” in the near future, adding that the worst was over.
“Today the economy is working as well as the coronavirus cases are declining,” said Khan. He appreciated the people of Pakistan for adopting precautions against the coronavirus, but cautioned that the threat was not yet finished and preventative measures should not be abandoned.
Claiming that Pakistan had actually seen a growth in exports despite the pandemic, the prime minister said it was heartening to see the stock market performing better “due to people’s confidence.” He also, as a matter of routine, lamented that the previous government had left such a dire situation for the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf to overcome.
“When the government was formed, there were no foreign exchange reserves. It was difficult to repay loans,” he said, adding that he was aware of the difficulties facing the people right now and assured them these would be overcome.
He said the uplift of the construction sector would benefit 40 allied industries and generate employment and wealth. This would result in a boost to the government’s tax collection, he added.
The prime minister claimed that the government had inked a new agreement with independent power producers to reduce the cost of electricity, thereby reducing the circular debt and leading to a boost for the economy. He said that this was one of two major problems his government had inherited.
“One [problem] was of the loans obtained by the past governments and the other related to the power sector,” he said. In its first year of power, the PTI added Rs. 11.6 trillion in debt—the total debt added by the previous PMLN government in five years of power was less than Rs. 13 trillion.
Khan claimed during his speech that Pakistan’s industrial sector was lagging behind the rest of the world due to expensive electricity as the country has been “buying electricity at an expensive rate and selling it for a cheap rate.” He said the government was working to reduce line losses and power theft to further curb expensive rates for power generation.
Referring to Jammu and Kashmir, the prime minister said all of Pakistan was standing with the people of India-held Kashmir, adding that the nation would continue to support the disputed region’s right of self-determination.
Khan also said that Pakistan would never abandon the Kashmiri people, and would continue to pray for them in their time of crisis.