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Economy back on growth path, no debt rise in past 4 months: Hafeez

ISLAMABAD: Asserting that economy was steered back on growth path, Advisor to Prime Minister on Finance, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said Tuesday that there was no increase in country’s debt during the past four months.

“During the period from June 30 to November 1st, there was zero percent increase in the country’s debt,” he said while accompanying Prime Minister, Imran Khan during a briefing on power relief package for industry.

The advisor said that this all was done on the basis of country’s own income as the government had reduced expenditures while the revenues were on growth path.

The advisor said that the government successfully managed Covid-19 pandemic crisis and steered the economy out of difficult situation and currently majority of the economic indicators were showing positive growth as shown by the latest data.

He said that the revenues increased, exports were also growing while the industry has also gone back on positive trajectory with current account deficit reduced from $20 billion to zero.

He said that Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) witnessed outstanding performance and was ranked 4th in the world and 1st in the Asia among most performing markets.

The advisor said that the government policies were focused on welfare of the people and that was why it took all the measures to ensure people get employment and earn livelihood.

He said that on the other hand, the government ensured taking taxes from the well-off people, adding that it also controlled its expenditures as it cut expenditures of Prime Minister house and President house and the cabinet while the expenditures of civilian government and military were also reduced.

He said that the government did not borrow a penny from the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) during the year while no supplementary grants were also issued during the period. As a result, he added, the primary balance was now in surplus.

He said that the government took several measures to promote industry and has abolished taxes on import of raw material saying that the World Bank lauded these policies and the country was ranked among 10 economies that had introduced reforms to reduce cost of doing business.

He said that in order to save people from the negative impacts of the Coronavirus, the government provided relief package of Rs. 1250 billion while 16 million people were provided cash in a transparent manner.

The advisor said that for the provision of shelter to the low income people, the government provided 90 percent tax relief for construction of small houses.

He said that the spending through safety net has also been increased from Rs100 billion to Rs192 billion while a historic package of Rs. 152 billion was provided for the development of erstwhile FATA areas.

He said that adequate funds were allocated in Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) for less developed areas to bring them at par with the developed ones. While subsidy was given on five basic commodities through Utility Stores Corporation (USC), he added.

M M Alam

M. M. Alam is a Pakistan-based working journalist since 1981. Karachi University faculty gold medalist Alam began his career four decades ago by writing for Dawn, Pakistan’s highest circulating English daily. He has worked for region’s leading publications, global aviation periodicals including Rotors (of USA) and vetted New York Times as permanent employee of daily Express Tribune. Alam regularly covers international aviation and defense-related events including Salon Du Bourget (France), Farnborough (United Kingdom), Dubai (UAE). Alam has reported thousands of events and interviewed hundreds of people in Pakistan, UAE, EU, UK and USA. Being Francophone Alam also coordinates with a number of French publications.