PM forms advisory body to tackle economic challenges

Published April 13, 2022
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif meets a team of economists on Tuesday.
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif meets a team of economists on Tuesday.

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Tuesday the government will take short and long-term measures to overcome the economic challenges left behind by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) regime.

“After the formation of the federal cabinet, the government would come up with… plans to overcome inflation and revive the economy,” the prime minister told reporters at an iftar dinner at PM House on Tuesday.

Talking about the relief measures announced in his maiden address as prime minister, including raising minimum wage to Rs 25,000 and a 10 per cent increase in pensions, he said these were still not enough to meet the 25pc inflation that had afflicted citizens.

Earlier in the day, PM Sharif also issued directives for the implementation of the ‘relief package’ he had announced during his speech at the National Assembly on Monday, and decided to form a National Economic Advisory Council (NEAC) consisting of leading economists to find a way out of the prevailing economic crunch.

Meets economic experts on first day in office; seeks proposals to rescue economy

Sources said the NEAC will consist of seasoned economists and industrialists, such as Muhammad Ali Tabba, Mian Nansha, Ali Cheema and Yousuf Nazar, among others.

Insiders told Dawn that while the prime minister desired that the NEAC should meet on a weekly basis, every Saturday. However, his economic team suggested that the meeting should not be fixed for a specific day.

In his meeting with economic, the PM issued directives to come up with urgent financial proposals to rescue the country from the current economic crisis.

The proposals will be devised in line with the consultation with stakeholders in areas including agriculture, trade, investment, and banking.

A summit on economic revival will also be held in coming few days to discuss the suggestions of the economic experts.

PM Sharif also sought a reduction in the prices of daily-use commodities and essential items, particularly during the month of Ramazan, stressing the need for maintaining a balance between the national and public interests.

In the meeting, the finance secretary gave a briefing on the economic situation, revenues, the budget deficit, and loans, besides the overall national balance sheet.

APP adds: Separately, Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI) Vice President Haris Ateeq has backed PM Sharif as someone who would be able to bring all economic issues under control. Talking to a group of businessmen in Lahore on Tuesday, Mr Ateeq said that the country was currently facing acute economic challenges like mounting inflation, trade deficit, soaring public debt and high devaluation.

He said that it was a good omen that the economic indicators like stock market and rupee value got positive as soon as Shehbaz Sharif assumed the office of Prime Minister.

Mr Ateeq said that Shehbaz Sharif had served matchless services as Chief Minister Punjab. It is hoped that the new Prime Minister would continue his untiring efforts for the development of the country, he added.

Published in Dawn, April 13th, 2022

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