Finance Minister Miftah Ismail on Wednesday urged every company to export 10 per cent of its products to earn foreign exchange for Pakistan and assured that the government would facilitate exporters in this regard.
Addressing the Leaders of Islamabad - Business Summit, he said that there were four principles — living within means, promoting exports, increasing agricultural productivity and focusing on children's education — that if followed would set the country on the path of growth and development.
There was a dire need to identify the mistakes that had caused Pakistan's progress to be slower compared to other countries, Ismail said.
The finance minister noted that the country had a huge debt burden, including a deficit of Rs5.2 trillion last year and Rs3.5tr during the last four years. In comparison, the deficit stood at Rs1.6tr during the five-year tenure of the previous PML-N government, he said.
The minister said that the country's debt had more than doubled during the past four years. He added, however, that it would be contained at Rs4tr during the current year.
Ismail said there would not have been a problem if the debt had been used for enhancing productivity.
The minister said due to the measures introduced by the incumbent government, the inflows of dollars had outpaced outflows during the current month.
Secondly, the minister said, there was a dire need to focus on enhancing exports through diversification. No attention had been given to the export sector during the past 11 years because of which there was no substantial growth and instead, exports declined, he said.
Ismail noted that the country had imported 1.1 million tonnes of wheat so far this year, pointing out that money spent on importing wheat could be saved by boosting agricultural productivity by supporting farmers and incorporating the latest technology.
A task force had been created to address the agriculture sector's problems, Radio Pakistan quoted the minister as saying.
The minister also highlighted the importance of separating rural and urban poverty and making strategies that would make the poor richer.
Ismail said that successive governments had failed to provide adequate education since the 1970s and even the private sector could not deliver. If children were properly educated, the problems of future generations would be solved, he added.