ISLAMABAD: Finance Adviser Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh is chairing a meeting of the Monetary & Fiscal Policies Coordination Board on Thursday.
ISLAMABAD: Finance Adviser Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh is chairing a meeting of the Monetary & Fiscal Policies Coordination Board on Thursday.

ISLAMABAD: Finance Adviser Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh reviewed the government economic performance, and according to one source present in the meeting, asked whether the improvements in fiscal and external accounts were helping the well being of the people.

While presiding over a meeting of the Monetary and Fiscal Policies Coordination Board (MFPCB), the adviser also desired that Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) would need to do better to ensure integrity and reliability of its data.

Other members attending the board meeting were Commerce Adviser, deputy chairman Planning Commission, special secretary Finance, Governor SBP, Dr Waqar Masood Khan and Dr Asad Zaman and FBR chairperson.

Shaikh emphasised on active role of the board for designing policies to address economic challenges like inflation, stagnant exports, resource mobilisation etc.

He stressed the need for building capacity of PBS for providing reliable data which will help in effective policy making.

The adviser called for the activation and the role of public-private partnership to help the government in resource mobilisation and ordered the PPP authority to come up with a comprehensive plan of resource mobilisation for socioeconomic development of the country.

He explained that the mandate of MFPCB was to review the overall economic situation and coordinate policy actions in an effective manner to achieve on desired targets of key economic indicators.

Special Secretary Finance presented the current economic situation of the country and elaborated that the economy is on path of recovery. He also highlighted the various policy measures adopted to achieve high growth and job creation.

Governor SBP appreciated the efforts of Ministry of Finance for making technical committee to design joint macroeconomic framework which will help in making effective monetary and fiscal policy being the prime objective of this forum.

He said the policy rate has been kept unchanged at seven per cent due to improved business confidence and growth outlook. The current accommodative stance of monetary policy will support economic recovery. Inflationary pressure is also expected to ease out in coming months due to various policy and administrative measures of the federal and provincial governments.

Commerce Adviser mentioned that exports were $3.6 billion while imports were $6.9bn during the first two months of FY21, which reduced the trade deficit. However, the performance of exports remained subdued in August due to the supply chain effect owing to unprecedented monsoon rains.

He observed that exports will register sharp improvement in September and said that current account balance is in surplus, which will have positive impact on the exchange rate stability of the currency. Shaikh, however, also expressed concern all the facilitations and incentives did not commensurate with export sector performance.

Deputy Chairman Planning Commission apprised the meeting that coronavirus has affected the confidence of both consumer and investors. However, the stimulus package of the government and recent accommodative monetary policy were providing impetus to investment and growth.

Dr Waqar Masood Khan supported the SBP monetary policy stance and said its continuation will be helpful in economic recovery.

Dr Zaman emphasised upon the need of generating employment through growth and appreciated the present fiscal stimulus package of the government to enhance economic activities and employment opportunities.

Shaikh concluded that the government is committed to follow macroeconomic fundamentals through effective policy making and targeted reforms with an aim to achieve sustainable and inclusive growth trajectory.

Published in Dawn, September 25th, 2020