ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Prime Minister’s Advisor on Finance Abdul Hafeez Shaikh unveiled Pakistan Economic Survey 2018-19 in Islamabad on Monday, providing an overview of the national economy, highlighting performance and achievements in different sectors during the fiscal year.
Unveiling the Economic Survey 2018-19, Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said that crucial decisions are being made to correct the course of economy and stabilize it.
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Hafeez Shaikh said that Pakistan is endowed with natural resources including fertile land, long coast line, hardworking people, rich minerals and a number of other assets.
The advisor said that the incumbent the government inherited a weak economy with a total debt touching Rs 31000 billion which were taken over the previous years. He said that in the coming years, Rs 3000 billion will have to be paid in terms of interest only on these loans.
The advisor on finance said that US$ 97 billion were taken as external loans while the wealth producing capacity of the Country was increased by zero percent due to no raise in exports in all these years. He added that this is an alarming situation for the Country’s economy and the rupee is facing a lot of pressure.
Hafeez Shaikh said that Rs 2300 billion were spent beyond income that resulted in printing more currency notes and leading towards inflation.
Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said that Prime Minister Imran Khan has shown the commitment to make difficult decisions in order to change things on permanent basis. He said that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government took important decisions to correct the course of economy.
For this purpose, duties were increased on imports to restrict the current account deficit, he said, adding that incentives were given to export industries to increase their share.
Hafeez Shaikh that the prime minister through his personal efforts received US$ 9.2 billion from friendly Countries while a deferred oil payment facility from Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Islamic Development Banks was achieved.
It was also decided to forge a partnership with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to provide a sound footing to the economy and also show the commitment that we are ready for financial discipline. He said that a successful partnership of US$ 6.2 billion with the IMF was achieved.
The advisor on finance said that the public sector institutions will be strengthened. He said that in the past, the public utility companies as well as transportation, insurance and other institutions were made hollow from inside due to corruption.
The advisor said that the money, which was to be used on health, education and other facilities to people, was rather spent on these white elephants to the tune of Rs 1300 billion. He said that effort has been made to put minimum burden on poor segments of the society.
Hafeez Shaikh said that Rs 216 billion have been earmarked in the next budget to provide subsidy to consumers who are using low consumption of electricity. He said that the amount for financial handouts to the poor is being doubled in the coming budget.
Enumerating the priorities of the government, Hafeez Sheikh said that our priorities are to stabilize the economy addressing immediate threats, improve relations with foreign Countries to reap benefits, strengthen domestic industry, give a pivotal focus to marginalized people, and convince the rich to pay their due share of taxes.
The advisor said that the tax collection is very low and a large segment of the population does not want to give its share in the form of taxes.