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Forex reserves up from $8.5bn to $12.5bn, current account deficit cut from $20bn to $3bn in 2 years, cabinet told

  • Due to the government's prudent economic policies, the foreign exchange reserves of State Bank of Pakistan had increased from $ 8.5 billion to $12.5 billion, he added.
11 Aug 2020

ISLAMABAD: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Abdul Hafeez Sheikh while briefing the Federal Cabinet on the status of economy and economic indicators during the first two years of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government, said the current account deficit had been brought down from $20 billion to only $ 3 billion.

Briefing the media persons about the decisions of cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz said the cabinet was informed by the finance advisor that the policy of encouraging exports and discouraging unnecessary imports had paid the dividends.

Due to the government's prudent economic policies, the foreign exchange reserves of State Bank of Pakistan had increased from $ 8.5 billion to $12.5 billion, he added.

Under the Ehsaas programme, the minister said, financial assistance was provided to some 15 million families in a transparent manner, while subsidy was given to the Utility Stores Corporation to ensure supply of daily use items at affordable prices.

Shibli Faraz said the present government had also given a historic package for the construction sector as the resumption of construction activities would create jobs and provide housing facilities to the poor.

Under the policy, the poor people would be given loans on minimum mark-up ratio and the government would also give subsidy to them in the purchase of housing units.

The government had also given relaxation on taxes to the builders to encourage investment in the housing units, he added.

The minister said the economic wheel had begun to turn again and Rs. 300 billion more tax revenue was collected than the target.

He said with the resumption of economic activities, exports had increased and stock exchange shown growth which was an indication of economic stability.

Exports reached $ 2 billion mark in the month of July during the current year against $ 1.2 billion in the past, he added.

He said international institutions had given better ratings to Pakistan’s economy, which was a sign of its economic stability.

The government had to take difficult decisions and now hard times had almost passed and the nation would soon benefit from good times.

The minister said the way the government dealt with the corona pandemic was being appreciated all over the world.

Those who had created a hype for a strict lockdown belonged to the elite class, who could not feel the pain for the sufferings of the poor and marginalized people that they had to feed their children from the earnings on a daily basis.

With the blessings of Allah Almighty, the pandemic had caused less damage in Pakistan than the developed countries, he added.

Shibli Faraz said the cabinet was given a briefing on the encroachments around the Margalla Road (lslamabad).

It was told that during the past one and a half years, the Capital Development Authority had retrieved land worth Rs. 450 billion.

Similarly, the encroachments on Srinagar Highway had also been removed and trees were planted on the retrieved land, while the Quaid-e-Azam University's land under illegal occupation of mafia was also recovered.

The CDA chairman was directed to provide facilities at the slums and business opportunities to the poor people running kiosks on the civic body's land, he added.

The minister said the cabinet was informed that the process of scrutiny of the licenses of pilots would be completed next month.

He said the cabinet decided to celebrate August 14 in a befitting manner and renewal of the pledge would be done not to run the country in the way it was run during the past four decades.

It was pledged that the new generation would be given a better Pakistan with rule of law and the constitution, and better employment opportunities.

He said the prime minister was informed that payments worth Rs. 891 million had been made to the media houses whereas the remaining dues would be cleared at the earliest.