PML-N assails govt’s economic policies

Published January 4, 2019
Ex-PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi says the rupee has been devalued by 30pc but imports are still showing a downward trend. ─ File photo courtesy CNN
Ex-PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi says the rupee has been devalued by 30pc but imports are still showing a downward trend. ─ File photo courtesy CNN

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has claimed that economic policies of the government have completely failed and the country faces an unprecedented economic crisis.

Addressing a press conference along with Marriyum Aurangzeb and Musaddiq Malik on Thursday, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said that everyone should think seriously about the future of the country after government spokesman on economy Dr Farrukh Saleem exposed ‘faulty’ economic policies of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf.

“After the confessional statement of Farrukh Saleem that alarm bells are ringing, every Pakistani, every institution, parliament and opposition should be concerned about the poor performance of the government,” he added.

Mr Abbasi said the government had failed to resolve economic issues. “I have not seen in my political career of 35 years that the government spokesman is speaking against the government,” he added.

He said that according to Dr Saleem, the government was trying to hide the adverse impact of its faulty policies on the economy. “It is a matter of great concern if the government itself admits its economic failure,” the former premier said.

Khaqan Abbasi says rupee has been devalued by 30pc but imports are still showing a downward trend

Again quoting the government’s spokesman, the PML-N leader said the government was taking additional loans to show what he called ‘so-called’ performance.

Mr Abbasi said foreign exchange reserves of the country had plunged to the lowest level in the last decade and the GDP growth rate had dropped to three per cent from 5.8pc last year. “It means that the economy will suffer another loss of Rs1,400 billion,” he added.

He said the current account deficit had increased from $1.8bn to $2bn. “They have devalued the rupee by 30pc even then imports of the country are showing a downward trend,” he said.

The former prime minister urged the government to decide whether it wanted to get monetary assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or not. “If the government had decided it four months ago the country would have not faced the prevailing economic crunch. If the government and the IMF are on the same page then why the government is hesitating in getting loan from it,” he added.

He accused the government of increasing inflation, gas and electricity rates and joblessness, slowing down economic growth and putting development activities to a halt.

Responding to a question about a reported controversy in the award of Rs309bn Mohmand dam contract, Mr Abbasi said he had great respect for Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, but now he [Mr Dawood] had to decide whether he wanted the contract for his firm Descon or his position in the government.

He said the government ministers admitted that the Mohmand dam project had started during the PML-N government in 2017.

Talking about the recent remarks of Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda over summoning by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the National Assembly, he said the committee had not called the minister, but the secretary of his ministry.

“The PAC does not call ministers, but the secretaries,” he said.

“I agree with Mr Vawda that he is not a servant of anyone else’s father but the people of the country.”

In reply to a question about the National Accountability Bureau, the former prime minister described the NAB law as ‘black law’ and said all parties should have consensus for its early repealing.

He said he had read in newspapers on Thursday that NAB had started two more investigations against him. “I have not been summoned by the bureau so far,” he added.

Published in Dawn, January 4th, 2019

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