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ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal Thursday said that more than six percent of economic growth leads to a dollar crunch in the country, compelling government to decelerate an overheated economy.

While addressing the closing ceremony of a two-day International Conference on Productivity Accreditation and Certification organised by the National Productivity Organization (NPO) on the occasion of the APO’s Diamond Jubilee, he highlighted that Pakistan direly needs to increase export volume to get rid of the boom-bust cycles of the economy.

However, he maintained that economic development also requires stability and continuity of policies. Iqbal said the country had been facing serious issues related to foreign exchange reserves and balance of payment crisis for a long time due to slow growth in exports and it was high time for the country to increase the exports which is one of the key methods to get rid of the balance of payment problems.

The minister said that the country needs to devise short-term actions as well as long-term policies to put the economy on the right trajectory, coupled with out-of-the-box long-term initiatives such as Vision 2025, which is the first stage of long-term vision leading to 100 years of Pakistan in 2047.

Pakistan desperately needs measures to bring the country’s economy out of crisis through sustainable export-led economic growth. “Sustainable economic growth is possible only through increasing productivity that leads to more exports and higher economic growth”, the minister said.

Govt committed to increasing exports to $100bn soon: minister

He said only in the agriculture sector, Pakistan could earn an additional US$10 to $12 billion per annum by increasing the per acre yield of various crops which have the potential to grow between 80-300 percent. He said that to increase the agricultural output, Pakistani farmers must adopt global standards of growing crops.

“Whenever we cross six per cent of GDP growth, the government faces a dollar shortage issue, as a result, we have to put an emergency brake on the economic growth to resolve the balance of payment crisis,” he added. In 2018, he said the PML-N government launched the productivity initiative with the help of Asian Productivity Organization (APO) aimed at increasing productivity in the country by ensuring quality and innovation.

However, he said the government was changed soon and the initiative could not continue due to the change in the government. Iqbal maintained that the sustainable economic development of the country was directly linked to political stability and continuity in the policies.

Iqbal appreciated the APO’s role in the development of the Asia-Pacific region, saying that it is time to renew and revitalise our commitment, resolve and will to strive further and achieve APO’s vision of inclusive, innovation-led productivity growth in the Asia-Pacific. Together with this vigour and energy our goals as APO member countries of sustainable productivity growth, robust innovation ecosystem, Inclusive engagement and shared prosperity seem not too far.

He further added working in tandem with similar organisations, the APO and NPOs will be able to find solutions to long-standing problems of the region. The minister said that his ministry’s mission is to “manage Pakistan’s socio-economic development in a strategic and sustainable manner”. It is our objective to provide leadership at the national level in planning and developing programmes through competitiveness and leadership for the national economy.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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