Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday told the Macroeconomic Advisory Group that the three years of the present government “are an economic success story.”
Presiding over a meeting of the Macroeconomic Advisory Group in Islamabad, premier Imran said since the PTI government 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 said that Pakistan demonstrated exceptional performance in confronting the Covid-19 compared with other countries of the region. “Pakistan is expected to achieve over 4 percent economic growth – which is a major success,” he added.
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.
Reviews 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 to the group.
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 percent growth in exports and the highest ever 38 percent increase in tax revenues, a recorded increase of 27 percent 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.
Prime Minister 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.
‘NEXT THREE MONTHS IMPORTANT’: Meanwhile, in an interview to a local news channel, Prime Minister Imran said that the next three months “are very important for the government, insisting inflation must be controlled.”
The prime minister sounded confident that his government would complete its five-year term with the support of allies and said he saw no threat at any level to his government.
He said that he enjoyed exemplary relations with the military leadership.
Replying to a question about giving extension to the Army Chief, he said he had not thought about it so far; “what is the problem about it for the year has just begun. November is still far away and when the time would come, the matter would be seen then.”
About the opposition’s possible move of tabling a no-confidence motion against him, the premier contended that if they wanted to move confidence motion against him, they can do so.
The premier conceded that the biggest failure of his government was the lack of accountability. He pointed out that when the NAB would take corruption cases to the courts, then the matters were left with the courts.
Despite all the evidence, people were roaming free, he added.
However, he sounded quite hopeful about the new investigation by FIA against leader of opposition Shehbaz Sharif and wondered, who would not believe and deny that he had not indulged in corruption.
“I don’t think, now Shehbaz would not survive after the kind of evidence is found against him,” he continued.
About the recent debacle in the 17 districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the local government elections, PM Imran said that the defeat in first phase of polls in the province had been extremely damaging. He believed that the defeat was due to the organisational structure. However, the prime minister said thankfully, PTI vote bank has not shrunk and remained intact.
About the chances of his party in the local government elections in Punjab, he said that he was confident the PTI would perform very well in the LG polls in the province.
He was satisfied with the performance of Punjab government of Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and noted that many of his good works were not being projected properly.
Speaking on rising inflation, the prime minister said that the government needed to control it during the next three months.
About Pakistan’s relations with China and the United States, he said that the relations with China were before the world but conceded that there had been pressure from the US and cited the IMF on this count. However, he was optimistic that the matters between Pakistan and the US were moving forward in a very good way.