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ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal on Monday said the incumbent government adopted prudent economic policies and was taking the country gradually towards stabilisation despite facing multiple challenges on different fronts.

“It is the success of the incumbent government that it not only faced the climate disaster that caused a $30 billion loss to the national exchequer but also managed to take Pakistan towards gradual stabilization despite the PTI regime’s failed economic policies and bad governance,” he said while addressing a news conference here.

He said that no one was talking about the threat of the country’s default and that even the PTI ministers and officials themselves admitted the national economy was on the verge of collapse, recalling the statements of Imran Khan’s handpicked [former]Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed, and FBR Chairman Shabbar Zaidi, besides a number of the PTI parliamentarians.

He said it was unfortunate that the PTI tried to blame the one-year-old incumbent government for the increased inflation that occurred due to its own wrongdoings, failed policies and bad governance.

The minister said the PTI government, which was forcibly imposed on Pakistan after the 2018 election under a “conspiracy”, had been enjoying absolute rule and “spoon-feeding” by the top state institutions during its four-year tenure.

“They (institutions) had been extending all kinds of support to the PTI for keeping its government intact and prolonging its rule,” he said, adding Imran Niazi also remained in habit of non-complying with the apex court’s orders in different cases.

He said curbs were imposed on media by the PTI government and managed to expel some critic journalists from their media houses to mute their voices and mould them in the government’s favour. Despite all these things, the Imran government enjoyed full support even of the media, he expressed astonishment.

He said the PTI government deteriorated the national economy without making any achievements as the circular debt and losses of state enterprises almost doubled in its tenure.

He mentioned that the PTI government caused billions of rupees in losses to the country’s aviation industry alone by issuing irresponsible statements on licensing issues of pilots after a PIA plane crashed in Karachi in May 2020, following which the national flag carrier was banned on major international routes.

Ahsan Iqbal was of the view that the PTI government should explain why it could not implement its manifesto with regard to providing 10 million jobs and constructing five million residential units for the low-income group, despite having the complete support of the institutions and absolute authority.

The planning minister said Imran Niazi damaged the investment that was pouring into the country under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects, adding the PTI government laid the foundation of inflation by devaluating the rupee against the dollar and in the last year opened the $72 billion import to show artificial growth and benefit friends with issuing import licenses for luxury items.

Ahsan Iqbal said corruption and malpractice remain rampant during the four-year tenure of the PTI which was evident by the fact that Transparency International downgraded ranking of Pakistan in the list of fair and transparent nations.

He said when the PML-N government had completed its five-year tenure in 2018, all economic indicators were moving in the right direction, adding there was single-digit inflation (4.4 per cent) and the economy was improving at the rate of six per cent backed by the historic CPEC project, but Imran Niazi’s four years in power had shaken the foundations of the national economy, politics and socioeconomics.

“The PML-N had left the development budget at around Rs1,000 billion in 2018 which after a four-year tenure of the PTI government shrunk to Rs550 billion,” he said, adding in April last when the incumbent government came into power, there was no development budget for the last quarter of the year 2021-22.

The minister said the PML-N while sitting on the opposition benches after 2018 had been warning the PTI government of “tsunami inflation” due to its wrong economic policies and admitting strict conditions of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“Today the country is chained by the same IMF agreement and we [the incumbent government] is compelled to implement on the IMF conditions which were signed by the PTI government. One of the reasons behind the increased inflation is the IMF agreement,” the minister said.

On the external front, Ahsan Iqbal said the Russia-Ukraine war was another main reason for global inflation, which increased the prices of commodity items and even impacted the economies of developed countries.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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Parvez Apr 11, 2023 11:22pm
Statements like this are an insult to the people's intelligenc.
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