No circular debt after Dec 2020, vows finance adviser

'Govt will strive hard to increase revenues and decrease expenditures in the remaining quarters of FY20'

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ISLAMABAD: Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance & Revenue Dr Hafeez Shaikh on Monday reiterated the government’s resolve to eliminate circular debt by December 2020.

Briefing the leading anchorpersons of electronic media about the government’s economic performance during the first quarter of the Fiscal Year 2019-20, the adviser said, “Owing to the prudent policies of the present government, the current account deficit has come down significantly in the first quarter, whereas the volume of exports has increased. The trade deficit has decreased by 33.5pc.”

He said the government was also trying to surpass the target of non-tax revenue in the ongoing fiscal year.

“In the coming months, the economy will strengthen further and soon the country will achieve economic prosperity,” he maintained.

The senior anchors on the occasion asked questions related to fiscal, monitory and external accounts. Issues pertaining to inflation, exports, investment portfolios, central bank’s autonomy, agriculture and taxation system were also discussed.

The adviser informed the journalists about the precarious economic situation left by the previous government and the challenges the incumbent government faced after coming into power.

He highlighted that bilateral agreements with friendly countries coupled with the assistance provided by the International Monetary Fund helped ease the pressure on the economy.

Dr Hafeez Shaikh said that the IMF team, in its first quarterly review, had issued a satisfactory report on the government’s economic performance.

The media people were informed that the government would utilise all its energy to increase revenues and decrease expenditures in the remaining quarters of FY20.

The adviser recalled the steps taken in the budget 2019-20 to curtail expenditures; allocation of increased funds for Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) and poverty alleviation programmes. “The government had granted exemption of tax on exports and had decided to provide subsidy on electricity and gas to the export industry in the budget.”

He said that the government was strengthening its institutions in order to extract durable economic results, adding that institutions like the State Bank of Pakistan, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) have been given more autonomy to carry out its official business independently.

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