ISLAMABAD: PM Finance and Revenue Advisor Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh told the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Wednesday that thanks to cautious government policies, Pakistan had seen impressive changes in fiscal and current account deficits.
Addressing the second section of the WEF plenary session on the Country Strategy Dialogue (CSD) via video connection, he claimed that Pakistan had an unparalleled primary balance surplus.
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Before Covid-19, all fundamental economic metrics showed considerable change, the advisor observed.
He told the forum that in 2018, the new government inherited a very volatile economic situation and thus had to impose strict financial discipline to minimise wasteful government spending, improve revenue generation, introduce a market-driven exchange rate, abolish broad tax exemptions and deter imports.
As a result, there was a remarkable increase in fiscal and current account deficits in Pakistan. Before Covid-19, he said, all fundamental economic metrics reflected substantial change.
He said the government implemented smart lockdown during Covid-19 to balance the urgency of containing the spread of the disease with the need to keep the economy operational.
In order to minimise the adverse economic effect and help the disadvantaged sector of society, smart lockdowns have encouraged several firms to re-open or resume operations on a small scale.
The government gave cash transfers to 15 million families under the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program to provide relief to disadvantaged groups, including daily wage earners.
Hafeez pointed out that the government has taken many steps to encourage agriculture and construction sectors to boost economic recovery since the spread of Covid-19.
A small medium-sized business aid package protected from insolvency and unemployment. Latest evidence complements the economic reinforcement and growth in the recovery mode.
Pakistan has reported an upward trend in foreign remittances and foreign direct investment, amid Covid-19, which is a strong expression of confidence in the economy of Pakistan.
He reiterated that as a catalyst of prosperity, the government fully supports the private sector and believes in developing institutional capacity for sustained and inclusive economic growth.
We adopted a liberal foreign investment system and he said, implemented measures to promote the country’s ease of doing business. He said the new leadership encourages global investors and trusts in openness, integrity and responsibility.
He added that our agenda is to inspire individuals with a main emphasis on the advancement of human capital.