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ISLAMABAD: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh has stated that a think tank constituted by the prime minister has considered measures with regard to banking and finance for bringing about improvement in economy through ensuring availability of loans to people.

Talking after the meeting of the think tank presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan himself on Saturday, the adviser on finance said that the purpose of the think tank was to take steps for improvement in the economy in coordination with Pakistani businesses, academia and banking sector.

Hafeez said the meeting considered measures of banking and finance sector with the purpose as to how to make sure that lending facility was provided to people.

"The meeting also decided to increase digitization and to implement the steps announced for construction activity in the country, and improve the subsidy in a way that it reaches the deserving people," he said.

Earlier, the prime minister chaired the meeting of the think tank attended by Advisor on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Advisor on Institutional Reforms Dr Ishrat Hussain, Governor State Bank of Pakistan Raza Baqir and Former Finance Secretary Dr Waqar Masood Khan.

Advisor on Commerce Abdul Razaq Dawood, Shaukat Tareen, Sultan Alana, Dr Ijaz Nabi, and Arif Habib participated via video-links.

The advisor on finance briefed about the objectives and focus areas of this think tank on finance and economy.

The prime minister emphasized that out-of-the-box solutions were required for economic growth in those crucial times consequent to the COVID-19 impact on the world economy, including Pakistan's.

He stated that from day one, his government had adopted a strategy to maintain a balance between sustaining economic activity and protecting the masses from Covid-19.

The prime minister emphasized that the prime focus was on providing relief to the poor segments of society through targeted subsidies.

He stated that Ehsaas programme was the flagship programme of the government to alleviate poverty and required expansion along with a strategy to reach out to the needy.

The prime minister highlighted that a substantive package had been announced for the construction and housing sectors that aimed at increasing much-needed employment opportunities and economic stimulus as well as adding to the inventory of affordable housing for the poor.

He appreciated the proposals presented by the think tank regarding banking and finance, further improving the Ehsaas programme and facilitating small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The prime minister directed that regular feedback of the think tank be provided to him on various ongoing initiatives, policies and programmes of the government.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020

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