ISLAMABAD: Leader of the House in Senate Syed Shibli Faraz said on Tuesday that owing to timely policies of the government, the country’s already stabilised economy was now steadily moving towards growth.
In an exclusive interview with APP, Faraz hoped that Pakistan would come out of the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) grey list in the global watchdog’s June session.
“The country has already completed 14 out of 27-point FATF Action Plan, while work on the remaining points is continuing expeditiously. I hope the country meets all FATF requirements before the next session.”
He said that India had miserably failed in its efforts to drag Pakistan in the FATF blacklist, adding that the government should be lauded for its diplomatic endeavours at international level.
To a question, he maintained that the incumbent government had received economy in a very shabby condition. “However, it is improving, as indicated by many indicators, including declining inflation and rising exports.”
In addition, he said, the current condition at the external front has also turned favourable for Pakistan, as the oil prices in the international market were declining, providing a cushion for the government to provide relief to the masses.
He said the decline in oil prices would also create fiscal space for the government and reduce hardships for the common people, as it would help further reduce inflation, which had already decelerated to 12.4pc in February.
Faraz pointed out that the country’s exports were rising, which he thought was a good sign for the economy. “It is true that the coronavirus outbreak has caused huge damages, but it has also helped Pakistan to attract many export orders.”
On reduction in State Bank of Pakistan’s discount rates, the Senator said if the downward trend in inflation continues, there would definitely be a cut in interest rate.
He said that higher interest rates were also affecting stocks as the investors prefer to keep their money in banks instead of venturing into businesses. “As things are moving in the right directions, I expect the SBP to reduce interest rates after June 2020.”
To exploit the conducive export environment, he said that there was a dire need for the country to increase its industrial production.
He said owing to sound economic policies of the government, the country’s exports had increased in the last eight months whereas the trade deficit had also declined.
Talking about government priorities, he said a two-pronged policy — revenue growth and austerity – was adopted by the government to decrease the financial deficit.
To a question on Geographical Induction Law (GIL) for proper international branding of agriculture items including rice, salt and other food items, he said that a law on this had already been approved by Senate and was pending with the National Assembly for approval.
He said that Generalized System of Presences (GSP-Plus) with the European Union was a success, which helped enhance the country’s exports to EU by 40pc in the last eight years.