ISLAMABAD: Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said on Tuesday that the government was striving hard to tackle inflation and enhance domestic productivity through greater spending on social safety net, improving cash transfer programme, ensuring greater ease of doing business and providing subsidized loans, electricity and gas to the exporters.
“The government has worked very hard to pull the economy out of the ICU and the stage is now set for greater stabilization and enhanced domestic productivity which would help us overcome inflation, boost businesses and create more employment opportunities,” he said while talking to Ambassador of France Dr Marc Barety.
Dr Shaikh said the government was focusing on revitalizing the agriculture sector, adding that several mega projects had been approved to improve irrigation management, watercourses and construction of water storage facilities at farm level.
“These projects were also aimed at productivity enhancement of various crops, oilseeds, cage culture development, shrimp farming cluster development and water conservation in arid areas.”
He said the government had doubled the social safety budget from Rs100 billion to Rs190 billion while it had also recently revamped its cash transfer programme by replacing nearly 800,000 people with more deserving people.
He said the government had also recently launched a special food package at a cost of Rs7 billion to provide essential food items at reduced rates through the utility stores to the poor segment of the population.
On the macro front, The adviser said the government had brought down the current account deficit from $20 billion to $13 billion. “It will be further reduced to $8 billion this year. Similarly, exports which had remained stagnant for almost five years have started showing an upward trend.”
He said the revenue collection had jumped by 16pc while foreign direct investment had gone up by 280pc growth in the current financial year. Similarly, he added, Pakistan’s exchange rate had begun to stabilise due to enhanced external flows while Pakistan Stock Exchange was declared by Bloomberg as the best performing market in the world.
French Ambassador to Pakistan Dr Marc Barety said he was impressed with the good work done by the Pakistani government and lauded the introduction of institutional reforms across the country.
He said both France and Pakistan enjoyed excellent relationship and hoped this relationship would further deepen in the coming days through greater economic collaborations and business partnerships.