ISLAMABAD: On Thursday, Prime Minister Imran Khan said that except for food inflation, the country’s economy is going in the right direction and that the current account has been a surplus for the first time in modern history.
Speaking at the launch ceremony of the Naya Pakistan Certificates presented by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), he recognised that people were facing the country’s wheat and sugar crises, but promised that such a thing would not happen in the future Economy.
“With the exception of food inflation, which is also on the rise in India owing to pressure on the supply chain, the key economic indicators of the world are heading in a positive direction,” said the Prime Minister.
He said the wheat crisis emerged during the harvesting season due to unexpected rainfall, while sugar shortages and price spikes were triggered by cartelisation by the owners of sugar mills. “He said But I promise you that we have taken concrete measures to ensure that this will not happen in the future.
“A $20 billion current account deficit has been inherited by the government and the current account has been a surplus after 17 years and there has been no growth in international loans over the last four months,” Mr. Khan said.
- Launch of SBP’s Naya Pakistan Certificates
- Imran proposes special rewards to set up STZs.
- Admits the presence of crises in wheat and sugar
He clarified that the rise in the current account deficit and the increase in imports had created pressure on the rupee, resulting in a price increase for imported commodities such as coal, edible oil and pulses.
In addition to the big achievement of taking the current account into surplus, the Prime Minister said that the government had also succeeded in achieving a 24 percent rise in the export receipt of remittances from (overseas employees.
He expressed relief that there was no spike in the country’s loans over the last four months with the achievement of stabilisation in the main balance-difference in income and expenditure.
With the country’s key economic indicators showing promising signs, the Prime Minister said there was a need to take special measures and provide incentives to draw investment from expatriates who according to some figures, own dollars equal to Pakistan’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“We need to aspire to find ways to recruit Pakistanis from abroad, who are advancing well in any sector abroad, and who, I know, own the sum of dollars equal to our GDP according to some figures.”
For overseas and resident Pakistanis with declared foreign properties, the Naya Pakistan Certificates released offer “very attractive estimated rates of 5.5 to 7 percent” on dollar investment and “9.5 to 11 percent” on rupee investment.
With the Islamophobia and differing interest rates in the West, the Prime Minister said the certificates, which offered attractive return rates, created an incentive for overseas Pakistanis to spend their hard-earned money in their homeland for the good of themselves and the region.
He said the booming building industry, good sales of cement and other construction materials, progress in the textile industry and higher sales of motorcycles and cars reflected the fact that the economy was on the right direction, a well-performing stock market-best in Asia.
For their contribution to the boost to the economy, the prime minister congratulated the SBP, the finance ministry and his economic team.
Special Technology Zones
At a meeting on the establishment of special technology zones (STZs), Prime Minister Khan directed the authorities concerned to finalise special incentives to draw lucrative foreign investment by setting up STZs in the region, saying that many talented Pakistanis from abroad were interested in investing in the field.
He stressed that Pakistan had tremendous potential in the information technology market, which had to be optimally tapped to meet the domestic requirements of the country and to export IT-related goods.
The Prime Minister said the young Pakistani population would reap full benefits from supporting the country’s overlooked IT business.
The meeting was attended by Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, PM Finance Advisor; Dr Waqar Masood Khan, PM Tax Special Assistant; Dr Reza Baqir, SBP Governor; and senior government officials.
Meeting on housing
The Prime Minister, chairing a meeting of the National Coordinating Committee on Housing, Building and Development, said that the government had prescribed the supply of gas and electricity for the country’s new housing projects.
He said that there should be no delay in providing a No Objection Certificate to developers in the housing and development sectors and that all facilities should be made available to them.
The meeting was informed that the mapping process had begun in major cities to get state property vacated from invaders, including Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Quetta and Nowshera.