The federal government has decided to review all local and international energy agreements to reduce the adverse effects of coronavirus on the country’s economy and to pass on the relief to the common man. This was decided during a federal cabinet meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan heading it.
During the meeting, PM Khan said that the crippling situation of the economy due to the novel virus should not impact the poor segments of the society. He directed the finance minister to take necessary steps in this regard.
Energy Accords to Be Revised
Special Assistant to the PM on Information and Broadcast, Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan, briefed media regarding the cabinet decisions.
Dr. Awan said that the meeting agreed to review all accords in the energy sector, including the ones with Independent Power Projects (IPPs) and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).
The cabinet was apprised that when the previous government signed these agreements, the value of the US dollar was around 60 Pakistani rupees, which is now at Rs. 158.
The only beneficiaries of this continuous devaluation have been the international firms and, therefore, we have decided to revise these agreements to help support the country’s economy.
Budget 2020 Strategy Paper Approved
Advisor to PM on Finance, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, also presented the ‘budget strategy paper,’ which proposed necessary amendments in the fiscal budget amid the global coronavirus outbreak.
The finance minister apprised the cabinet that the government paid off Rs. 5,000 billion foreign debts, reduced the gap between income and expenditure, and financially empowered ministries. He highlighted that in the ongoing fiscal year, the revenue collection increased by 17 percent.
When such a global crisis arises, nations revise their annual budgets, therefore, we are revising international agreements in the energy sector.
The approved budget paper includes various measures for economic stability, such as controlling inflation, meeting targets of the government-IMF agreement, improving growth rate, creating job opportunities, reducing the budget deficit and loans, increasing revenue, and monitoring expenditures.
It also includes measures to protect the lower-income sections of society, fight natural calamities, and extend the process of reforms in state institutions.