PTI government is looking at multiple approaches to tackle inflation and enhance productivity through greater spending on social safety net, improving the cash transfer program, ensuring greater ease of doing business and providing subsidized loans, electricity and gas to the exporters.
This was stated by Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, who is the adviser to Prime Minister on finance.
While talking to Ambassador of France Dr. Marc Barety, he added:
The government has worked very hard to pull the economy out of the ICU as it was in 2018, and the stage is now set for greater stabilization and enhanced domestic productivity that would help overcome inflation, boost businesses and create more employment opportunities.
Shaikh said that the government is focusing on revitalizing the agriculture sector, and several mega projects had been approved for improving irrigation management, watercourses, and construction of water storage facilities at farms.
These projects are to enhance the productivity of various crops, oilseeds, cage culture development, shrimp farming cluster development and water conservation in arid areas.
He said the government has almost doubled the social safety budget from Rs. 100 billion to Rs. 190 billion while it had also recently revamped its cash transfer program by replacing nearly 800,000 people with more deserving people. The government had also recently launched a special food package at a cost of Rs. 7 billion to provide essential food items at reduced rates through utility stores to the poor segment of the population adversely affected by food inflation.
On the macro front, he said the government has brought down the current account deficit from $20 billion to $13 billion and it would be further reduced to 8 billion dollars this year. Similarly, exports which were stagnant for almost five years are now showing an upward trend.
Revenue collection has jumped by 16 percent and foreign direct investment had gone up by a whopping 280 percent in the current financial year. Similarly, Rupee’s exchange rate has begun to stabilize due to enhanced external flows while Pakistan Stock Exchange has been declared by Bloomberg as the best performing market in the world.
Ambassador Dr. Marc Barety said that he was impressed with the work done by the government to introduce institutional reforms and achieve stability and growth. He said that both France and Pakistan enjoy an excellent relationship and hoped this relationship will further deepen in coming days through greater economic collaboration and business partnerships.