ISLAMABAD: Advisor to Prime Minister on Finance Abdul Hafeez Shaikh on Monday unveiled Economic Survey 2018-19.
“Crucial decisions are being made to correct the course of economy and stabilize it,” Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said on this occasion in Islamabad.
He said Pakistan was endowed with natural resources including fertile land, long coastline, hardworking people, rich minerals and a number of other assets.
Ruing over current standing of debt on Pakistan, Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said the government inherited a weak economy with a total debt touching Rs31,000 billion.
He said in the coming years, Rs3,000 billion would have to be paid in terms of interest only on those loans.
The advisor on finance said 97 billion dollars were taken as external loans while the wealth producing capacity of the country was increased by zero percent because of no raise in exports in all these years.
“This is an alarming situation for the country’s economy and the rupee is facing a lot of pressure,” he said.
He said Rs2,300 billion were spent beyond income that resulted in printing more currency notes and leading towards inflation. He said Prime Minister Imran Khan had shown the commitment to make difficult decisions in order to change things on permanent basis.
Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said the government took important decisions to correct the course of economy.
For this purpose, duties were increased on imports to restrict the current account deficit and incentives were given to export industries to increase their share, he maintained.
He said Prime Minister Imran Khan through his personal efforts received 9.2 billion dollars from friendly countries. A deferred oil payment facility was also achieved, he added.
On bargains with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), he said it was also decided to forge a partnership with the IMF to provide a sound footing to the economy and also show the commitment that we are ready for financial discipline. A successful partnership of 6.2 billion dollars with IMF was achieved, he added.
The advisor on finance said the public sector institutions will be strengthened.
He said in the past the public utility companies as well as transportation, insurance and other institutions were made hollow from inside due to corruption.
“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 Rs1,300 billion,” he said.
The advisor said effort has been made to put minimum burden on poor segments of the society.
He said Rs216 billion had been earmarked in the next budget to provide subsidy to consumers who were using low consumption of electricity.
He said the amount for financial handouts to the poor was being doubled in the coming budget.
Enumerating the priorities of the government, Hafeez Sheikh said, “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.”
He said the tax collection was very low and a large segment of the population did not want to give its share in the form of taxes.