ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has asked his economic team to come up with some unconventional and out-of-the-box solutions for economic uplift and hold consultations with all the stakeholders to ensure timely implementation of proposals.
Chairing a meeting of his economic team on Saturday, the PM said that economic stability and facilitation of the business sector were among the top government priorities, directing the participants to present before the people a comparative analysis of both the present and past situation of the national economy and forcefully counter the negative propaganda from some elements.
The meeting was attended by Economic Affairs Minister Hamad Azhar, Planning Minister Khusro Bakhtiar, Advisor to PM on Finance Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Advisor on Institutional Reforms Dr Ishrat Hussain, special assistants Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan and Yousuf Baig Mirza, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Reza Baqir, chairmen of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), Board of Investment (BoI), Naya Pakistan Housing Authority and Ehsaas Programme, a statement issued by the PM’s Office read.
During the meeting, the PM was told that the government’s economic policies were now paying dividends in terms of considerable reduction in the trade deficit, increase in exports and tax collection.
The secretary finance briefed the prime minister about the targets set for the first quarter by different ministries, including commerce, industries and production, national food security, petroleum, FBR, BoI and the Aviation Division.
The prime minister directed different ministries to work out a clear and time-bound roadmap to examine their quarterly targets. “This will help the departments achieve their targets within the timeline, besides improving their performance, particularly the service delivery,” he said.
Discussing the revolutionary measures taken for the betterment of the agriculture sector, the prime minister said the government had formulated a comprehensive policy to uplift all sectors related to agriculture.
He said the government was committed to extending all-out facilities to the small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
“Special focus is required to revive the sick industrial units and those that had been closed in the past consequent to the maladministration and other reasons,” he said. “All this requires an active role of the CRIC, National Bank of Pakistan, SBP and others.”
While deliberating over the construction sector, the prime minister told the meeting that in order to remove the impediments, a proposal was being finalized to give the construction sector an ‘industrial’ status and to impose a fixed tax on the construction in megacities.
He asked the Naya Pakistan Housing Authority chairman to submit a report on the incentive package to promote the construction of residential apartments and investment in the sector.
The FBR chairman told the meeting that a considerable improvement had been witnessed in the tax collection as compared to the previous month. Owing to the government’s efforts, the tax net had been widened which was a positive sign for the national economy, he added.
Planning Minister Khusro Bakhtiar apprised the prime minister about the progress on the development projects being executed under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Expressing satisfaction over the CPEC, the prime minister said besides being the manifestation of the Pak-China friendship, the CPEC would also cast positive impacts on the national as well as the regional economy.
The SBP governor, while briefing on the growth in exports, said the exporters had not only expressed their full satisfaction over the government’s policies but also presented various proposals to boost the export-related industries which were being considered.
The finance secretary told the meeting that a media cell had been established at the finance ministry and Finance Special Secretary Umar Hameed Khan had been made a focal person for all economic-related ministries to provide correct information on the economic matters.