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KARACHI: Caretaker Minister for Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs, Dr Shamshad Akhtar on Saturday said that the process of transformation of the economy was underway in the country. The structural transformation in every sector of the economy took some time and they were making all-out efforts in this regard.

While addressing members of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) during her visit to FPCCI along with Chairman of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Malik Amjed Zubair Tiwana, she said that the leadership was committed to transforming the economy of the country.

Dr Shamshad said that the government launched a joint action to contain currency smuggling and narrow the difference in dollar rates in official and open markets.

She said that the government had done many good works for the betterment of the country. She said that the trade deficit narrowed by 3.6 percent to $1.3 billion in December 2023 compared to $1.9 billion in the same period last year. She further said that the export potential and export market would expand due to the efforts of the government.

Economic growth has to be backed by structural reforms: Shamshad

The minister said that the government encountered the external and domestic challenges. She said that the challenges were enormous but the government took proactive measures to overcome them.

She said that the Pakistan Credit Guranttee Company had been formed for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). She said that the companies had to stand on their own feet and should not rely on subsidies.

The minister said that subsidies should be utilized for development of the country and for the education, health, women empowerment and other welfare sectors.

Dr Shamshad, while advising FPCCI members, said that they should move towards the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) for debt purposes instead of knocking doors of banks.

She said that the performance of Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) remained positive in December 2023 and it had emerged as a new entity.

She further said that the benchmark KSE-100 index gained 1,924 points closed at 62,451 points as of December 29, 2023. While the market capitalization of PSX increased by Rs 334 billion and settled at Rs 9,063 billion as of end December 2023.

The minister said that a substantial change was being introduced to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to improve its performance. She said, “We need to raise the economic growth of this country.”

Chairman FBR Malik Amjed Zubair Tiwana briefing the FPCCI members said that they were working hard on reforms in FBR and they were close to their implementation.

Earlier, FPCCI President Arif Ikram Sheikh lauded the efforts of the caretaker government and demanded to consult with FPCCI while making fiscal budget to facilitate the business community.

Later, Arif Sheikh presented a memento to the Caretaker Federal Minister for Finance Dr. Shamshad Akhtar.

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