Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday held a meeting with his economic team to discuss the country’s economic situation and to prepare a comprehensive economic roadmap for further improvement.
The meeting, which lasted for three hours, was attended by Adviser to PM on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Planning and Development Minister Khusro Bakhtiar and Adviser on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, a statement issued by the PM Office read.
Talking to media after the meeting, Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said today’s meeting had three main objectives; assessment of economic progress, performance review of important ministries, including planning, commerce, agriculture, revenue and industry, and preparation of a focused development roadmap.
He said the government wants to expedite work on all the major development projects with a focus on economic stability. “The government has allocated about Rs950 billion in the budget for the development programme, execution of which would help create employment opportunities in the country,” he added.
The prime minister had directed that all the major projects should be monitored on a continuous basis so that their benefits could be passed on to the masses, the adviser informed.
He said the government has also earmarked Rs192 billion for the weaker segments of society, adding that cash transfers like Sehat Insaf cards and other relevant programmes should be accelerated to make the people realize that the government was taking all possible efforts for their economic uplift.
Besides financial facilities, the government has also kept Rs262 billion for the provision of subsidies to the weaker segments from the burden of cost of electricity and other items, and help the business community as well in reducing their costs.
“All the steps are being taken with a public-focused approach and to increase the confidence of the business community,” he maintained.
The adviser said owing to the prudent policies of the government, the country is now witnessing positive developments on the economic front, with the stock market gaining 9pc during the last week.
After a long time, he said, the country’s exports registered an increase in the month of July. The export sector is doing far better than the corresponding year, he added.
Dr Hafeez Shaikh noted that the current account deficit gap between exports and imports has witnessed a marked reduction. The current account deficit, which stood around $2.1 billion in July last year had now reduced to below $600 million.
He said a comprehensive roadmap for economic development is being prepared, wherein the decisions with regard to increasing the performance of relevant ministries would be taken.
“To address issues like construction of dams and roads or to bring investment in the economic zones, important decisions would be taken under the roadmap,” he stated. “Under the roadmap, the economic team would meet every week with the prime minister in the chair to discuss further required actions.”
The PM’s aide reiterated that the government wants to extend power and gas subsidies to the business community, adding that it also intends to facilitate them by relaxing the loan procedures.
On a query, he said that if oil prices are reduced internationally, the government would pass on the benefit to the general public. He expressed the hope that “such a thing could happen in the coming month”.