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ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Shazia Atta Marri on Tuesday said that there is a dire need to emphasize the reform measures to stabilise the country’s economy in order to meet the basic needs of the common man and said that the current government is taking corrective measures to stabilise the economy.

While addressing a conference on economy held in Islamabad, she said that a stable economy of a country is a source of strength for any nation and everyone has to take effective steps to improve the economy of the country.

The federal minister said that despite several interventions in the political system of Pakistan and the war against terrorism and extremism, we as a nation were strong enough to stand for our country and put it on the path of progress and stability.

She said that a weak economy of a country negatively affects the lives of the poor people so we have to work together on a priority basis for skilled workforce. She also stressed upon the inclusion of women in the labour force of Pakistan to boost the economy.

Marri said someone rightly said that a “Strong economy is a source of national strength”. “Economy is the start and end of everything and you cannot bring any reform unless you have a strong economy”. She added that we are a member of the global community. “I am very happy to express gratitude to our international friends who always extended help to us in difficult times such as disasters and calamities.”

Briefing about her ministry, Marri said that her ministry is working diligently to improve the socio-economic status of the poor. “All the shocks that the economy has to face ultimately affect the living conditions of the poor segments of the country the most”. The minister elaborated that the Benazir Income Support Program, initiated in 2008, was the brainchild of late Benazir Bhutto and this programme provides financial support and other facilities to eight million families. The basic criterion of this programme is to register the women member of the household for extending the benefits.

Mentioning the alarming indicators faced by the country, the minister said that Pakistan is ranked among 43 countries which are most exposed to poverty while 54 percent of its population is vulnerable to poverty due to health shocks.

She mentioned that around 52 million people in the country are living below the poverty line while 30 percent of the households experience food insecurity so the whole state of the economy impacts the population of the country as well as the poverty ratio.

She said that since the country inherited a destabilised economy from the previous government and recorded 38.2 billion dollartrade deficit when it came into power, we have to take corrective measures to ensure the stability of the economy and ensure the poor people come out of poverty.

She added that the IMF study estimates that Pakistan’s GDP can increase nearly 33 percent if women contribution toward the labour force is close to the men’s participation.

Quoting a study of the International Labour Organization, she said that if Pakistan reduces the gender gap in female participation and labour force by 25 percent, its GDP can increase up to nine percent. The federal minister also emphasized the need to incentivize the agriculture sector to increase the production level.

Qamar Zaman Kaira, Advisor to the PM on Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan said that improving agri-productivity, encouraging investment in productive sectors, promoting industrial exports, and enhancing manpower exports should be the way forward to revive the economy.

Senator Maulana Abdul GhafoorHaideri said that the country should adopt the economic model of the Prophet (PBUH) and Khulafa-e-Rashdeen to revive the economy. Himayat Ullah Mayar of the ANP said that resolving issues such as poverty, unemployment, local and foreign debts, terrorism, and political tensions is a must to revive the economy.

The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) in collaboration with the National Press Club (NPC) organized the “All Parties Conference for Revival of Economy”.

Muhammad Shakeel Munir, President ICCI welcomed the representatives of all the political parties and said that the purpose of organizing the APC was to bring all stakeholders at one platform to develop a future roadmap with consensus for reviving the economy.

Khalid Iqbal Malik, chairman Founder Group, Zubair Ahmed Malik, former president ICCI, Zubair Motiwalla former president Karachi Chamber of Commerce, presidents of Karachi, Faisalabad, Quetta Chamber of Commerce, Naima Ansari, president Islamabad Women Chamber of Commerce, Haji Ghulam Ali, former president FPCCI, Umar Khan, vice president FPCCI, and others also spoke on the occasion and gave suggestions for reviving the economy.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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