ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday held a meeting with his economic team to prepare a comprehensive economic roadmap under which decisions to improve performance of relevant ministries would be taken and issues like construction of dams or roads or bringing investment for the economic zones would be addressed.
The meeting, which lasted for three hours, was attended by Adviser to the PM on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Minister for Planning and Development Khusro Bakhtiar, Adviser on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood and other members of the economic team, the PM Office’s media wing said in a press release.
Later talking to the media, Hafeez Shaikh said that the meeting had three main objectives — assessment of economic progress, review of performance of important ministries like planning, commerce, agriculture, revenue and industry, and preparation of an all-focused roadmap.
He said the government wanted to accelerate progress on all major development projects with focus on economic stability, so that their benefits could reach the masses.
Adviser says positive impact of govt policies, like stock market gains and increase in exports, is being felt
The government had allocated about Rs950 billion for the development programme in the budget, he said, adding that completion of major projects would benefit the common man, besides helping in jobs creation.
The adviser quoted the prime minister as saying that all the major projects should be monitored on a regular basis so that their benefits could be passed on to the masses.
Mr Shaikh said that similarly the government had earmarked Rs192bn for the weaker segments of society. It wanted that cash transfers like Sehat Insaf Card and other relevant programmes should be accelerated so that the people realised that the government was taking all possible efforts for their economic well-being, he said.
Mr Shaikh said the government had also earmarked Rs262bn for provision of subsidies and its major objective was to protect the weaker segments of society from the burden of cost of electricity and other items, and also to help the business community in reducing their costs.
All the steps were being taken with a public-focused approach, and for facilitation of and increasing confidence of the business community, he added.
The adviser said that due to such policies, positive impacts were being felt as the stock market had gained nine per cent in last week.
After a long time, he said, exports had increased in July. The export sector was doing far better than the last year, he added.
He said the current account deficit gap between exports and imports had witnessed a marked reduction. The current account deficit, which stood at around $2.1bn dollars in July last year, had now been reduced to below $600 million in the same period this year.
Dr Shaikh said it was decided that under the roadmap, the economic team would meet every week with the prime minister in the chair to discuss further required actions.
He reiterated that the government also wanted to extend subsidies to the business community in power and gas, besides easing loan facilities and lessening of revenues burden and all the issues would be resolved by holding meetings with representatives of the business community.
He said that if oil prices were reduced in the international market, the government was keen to pass on the benefit to the general public, and expressed the hope that such thing could be happening the next month.
Published in Dawn, August 25th, 2019