Initiatives to revive economy, fight poverty finalised

Published November 26, 2018
Prime Minister Imran Khan.— APP/File
Prime Minister Imran Khan.— APP/File

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday chaired a meeting of the Economic Advisory Council (EAC) and took important decisions to revive the crippling economy and overcome poverty.

The meeting approved a grant of Rs5 billion for Prime Minister’s Naya Pakistan Housing Programme (NPHP). It also accorded approval to utilisation of $40 million for poverty alleviation.

The money is already available under the International Fund for Agricultural Development’s (IFAD) 40-year zero per cent loan arrangement.

IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialised agency of the United Nations.

Talking to Dawn, a participant of the meeting said the prime minister had approved a grant of Rs5bn for the NPHP and it was decided that $40m loan, available under the last year’s IFAD programme, would be spent for overcoming poverty in the country.

Economic Advisory Council okays utilisation of $40m IFAD fund

The EAC meeting, held at the prime minister’s Banigala residence, approved policy recommendations for a medium-term structural reforms framework for the economy. It also approved a social protection framework for vulnerable segments of society.

The framework is aimed at overcoming the challenges of poverty, health, stunted growth and education and enabling the youth to realise their potential and extricate themselves from generational poverty traps.

The meeting was attended by Minister for Finance Asad Umar, Minister for Planning Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, PM’s adviser Dr Ishrat Hussain, State Bank Governor Tariq Bajwa, Finance Secretary Arif Ahmad Khan, former SBP governor Syed Saleem Raza, Professor Dr Naved Hamid of Lahore School of Economics, economist Sakib Sherani, LUMS Associate Professor Dr Faisal Bari, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics Vice Chancellor Dr Asad Zaman, Sustainable Development Policy Institute Executive Director Dr Abid Qayyum Sulehri, Adviser/Executive Director General (IERU) Dr Khaqan Hassan Najeeb and other senior officials.

The meeting was briefed on policy recommendations for mobilising finance for development, increasing exports, strengthening small and medium enterprises (SMEs), carrying out tax reforms, job creation impact of major policy actions and social protection priorities in the light of deliberated proposals of the EAC working groups.

The policy recommendations were finalised to focus on acceleration of under-utilised areas, including agriculture, housing, SMEs in terms of incentives, reliance on export-oriented and labour-intensive growth, reversal of anti-export bias, enhanced system automation and use of technology, transparency in trade regime, facilitating importers, job creation through skill development, ease of doing business through business-friendly environment while focusing on productivity and moving on technology sophistication.

Prime Minister Khan said the finalisation of these policies was essential for laying foundation of a sustainable, inclusive, job creating and export-oriented economic growth strategy as part of the government’s 100-day plan.

Published in Dawn, November 26th, 2018

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