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coronavirus
Coronavirus
VERY HIGH
Source: covid.gov.pk
Pakistan Deaths
29,219
2724hr
Pakistan Cases
1,410,033
7,96324hr
Sindh
538,196
Punjab
474,208
Balochistan
34,277
Islamabad
125,203
KPK
190,578

ISLAMABAD: The newly appointed federal minister for finance Hammad Azhar on Sunday said that despite all challenges and hurdles, the economy is in a much better shape compared to previous regime of Pakistan Muslim League-0Nawaz (PML-N).

Talking in live call session along with Prime Minister Imran Khan, he said: “No doubt there’re challenges, but let me assure you there’s a huge difference between today’s Pakistan and Pakistan before 2018”.

“In 2018, Pakistan was at the verge of default but today’s Pakistan, even after the outbreak of Covid-19, was moving ahead on path of growth and progress in a much better way and was much ahead of growth forecast,” he added.

In 2018, he said that the economic indicators were in worse condition and couldn’t be shared with the public through media for their negative impact.

He said that the country was virtually at the brink of default before Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) took over in 2018, saying “any open discussion with masses about economic indicators then could have led to crisis in currency and stock market.

The foreign exchange reserves had almost finished and the existing around US$7 to $ 8 billion that were in State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) were reserves on the basis of short term loans, which had to be paid back in two to three months.

In this condition, he added, the government had to take some hard decisions and had to devalue currency and increase interest rate.

“Afterwards these decisions started giving results and the historic current account deficit, which the government inherited, turned into surplus after 17 years,” he added.

After that the world organizations, which had earlier downgraded the economy, started upgrading it one year after the incumbent government came into power.

He said that amid the journey of economy recovery was successfully going on when the Covid-19 pandemic hit the world and contracted economies by five to ten percent including in India, UK and other countries.

However, he said Pakistan witnessed contraction of only 0.4 percent in economic growth due to prudent policies of the government which took right decision at right time to save both lives of people as well as their livelihoods.

“We moved forward with a proper strategy and did not follow the Western policy blindly and our economy suffered just 0.4 percent contraction and that too was covered very early,” he added.

He said the government had introduced timely package during covid-19, waived off electricity bills to three million businesses, whereas 170 million families were provided immediate relief through Ehsaas Programme.

The minister said that business were provided easy loans and a number of packages were announced which resulted in economic recovery and growth as is evident from the fact that SBP was now predicting double growth compared to earlier projections.

He said, despite Covid-19, the large scale manufacturing (LSM) was growing at eight percent whereas automobile and cement witnessed historic sales. Urea fertilizer sales broke 10 years record whereas there were also record tractor sales.

Azhar said that around 100 textile mills that were closed in PML-N tenures were revived whereas thousands of power looms which were closed in Faisalabad were also restored.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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