ISLAMABAD: Amid the nascent signs of economic recovery, Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Tarin, Wednesday sought support from development partners to stimulate economic recovery during the third wave of Covid-19, which he said was challenging.

“The third wave of COVID-19 is particularly challenging and Pakistan needs support of development partners to stimulate recovery,” the mister said while delivering his remarks on behalf of Pakistan at a virtual event held on the sidelines of the 77th session of United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) titled “Debt Relief in the Aftermath of the Pandemic: How can Regional Dialogue help”.

The minister said that the country’s economy was showing nascent signs of economic recovery as Large Scale Manufacturing (LSM) was posting significant growth but there was a need to continue this momentum, which is not possible without external support.

The Finance Minister apprised the forum about the economic challenges faced by Pakistan due to COVID-19 pandemic, saying that due to the precarious economic situation in 2018, the government of Pakistan had to opt for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) program to fix the balance of payments crisis.

Pakistan successfully met all benchmarks during first performance review criteria, he said adding all fundamental economic indicators reflected significant improvement before the onset of COVID-19.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 shock resulted in considerable economic contraction leading to loss of livelihoods, disruption in supply lines and limited economic activity during partial lockdowns, he added.

To lessen the severe impact on the economy, the government introduced the largest-ever economic stimulus package for SMEs to shield against insolvency and facilitated construction sector and allied industries to stimulate growth during testing times.

Sixteen million families were given direct cash transfers under Ehsaas program, which roughly accounts for 46% the total population of Pakistan in order to protect the most vulnerable segments of the society, he added.

The Finance Minister further stated that at present, Pakistan had resumed the IMF program and was faced with a difficult choice to strike a balance between need for fiscal consolidation and ever rising demand for economic stimulus amid COVID-19 and in post-COVID scenario.

According to a press statement issued by the finance ministry, the Finance Minister of Maldives as well as high level delegates from Mongolia and Kyrgyz Republic also participated in the session.

The other delegates highlighted the need for evolving a mechanism to provide maximum debt relief to the developing and under-developed countries which are facing fiscal constraints and liquidity crises during the Pandemic.

The session concluded that there was a need for continued regional dialogue to learn from country experiences and thereby face challenges posed by pandemic in a better manner.


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