ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Tarin on Thursday underlined that due to prudent fiscal policies and strict financial discipline, Pakistan’s economy was shifting from consolidation to growth phase.
In a press release issued by the Ministry of Finance, he said that the government’s objective was to steer the economy towards an inclusive and sustainable economic growth with a key focus on a bottom-up approach as envisaged by the Prime Minister.
Tarin held a virtual meeting with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (UNESCAP) Executive Secretary Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana at the Finance Division.
In his remarks, the finance minister briefed Alisjahbana about the macro-economic challenges faced by Pakistan and underlined economic and fiscal policies being undertaken to place the economy on a growth trajectory.
He was apprised that the government of Pakistan had to opt for an IMF program to fix the balance of payments crisis due to the precarious economic situation in FY-2018.
The minister said that unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic shock resulted in considerable economic contraction leading to loss of livelihoods, disruption in supply lines and limited economic activity during partial lockdowns.
“At present, Pakistan was faced with a difficult choice to strike a balance between the need for fiscal consolidation and ever-rising demand for economic stimulus to stimulate economic growth amid COVID-19 and in post COVID scenario,” he said.
“Nevertheless, the government introduced smart and targeted lockdowns across various cities and districts to curtail the spread of the virus. This strategy was lauded globally for striking a balance between lives and livelihoods, during testing times,” he added.
“Kamyab Pakistan Program is being introduced to uplift the underprivileged population by extending micro-credit to promote financial empowerment,” he informed.
Moreover, the minister stated that the rapidly evolving situation in Afghanistan had posed new economic challenges for Pakistan.
Peace and stability in Afghanistan were important for the whole region, he stressed.
In her remarks, the executive secretary invited the finance minister for delivering the keynote address at the upcoming meeting of UNESCAP’s Committee on Macroeconomic Policy. The 3-day Committee meeting will deliberate upon the macroeconomic policies of member countries as well as issues relating to financing for development.
She emphasized the significance of supporting countries that were facing financing and development constraints due to the ongoing pandemic.
She stressed the need for evolving a mechanism to provide maximum relief to the developing countries which were facing socio-economic challenges.
She stated that this committee meeting would propose the establishment of a consultative group on financing for development for SDGs.
The minister accepted the invitation to deliver the keynote address in virtual mode.