ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government inherited a fragile economy, therefore stabilising it remains the key focus of the current government for ensuring sustainable growth, said Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain.
Addressing the business community at the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), he said, “The government is facing no challenge on the political front, however, the economy happens to be its main challenge and the economic team is making efforts to make Pakistan self-sufficient instead of depending on foreign borrowings.”
Quoting numbers, he said that when the PTI took over, the country required $12 billion to avoid default and due to the efforts of the government, Pakistan has been saved from the crisis.
The minister shared that the government’s strategy was to promote exports, discourage imports, broaden tax net, curb money laundering and promote remittances through banking channels.
He lauded that Pakistan possesses the potential to receive $40 billion in annual remittances and the government was focusing on encouraging remittances through legal channels. “The previous government spent $7 billion to keep rupee overvalued, which destroyed the economy,” Hussain lamented.
Sharing examples, he remarked that British Airways was returning to Pakistan, France has improved its travel advisory for Pakistan while Germany was also considering on the same lines. He said Pakistan’s relations with the EU and USA were also on the mend. Hussain expressed pleasure over the fact that filing of tax returns improved from around 1.1 million in 2017 to around 1.5 million in 2018.
Citing accomplishments, he said, “The government has signed $10 billion worth offshore gas pipeline deal with Russia while deal with Saudi Arabia for oil refinery has also been finalised.”
Also speaking on the occasion, ICCI President Ahmed Hassan Moughal demanded the government to focus on highlighting Pakistan’s business and economic potential through media to attract local and foreign investment. He further urged the government to prioritise measures to promote environment conducive for business activities.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 19th, 2018.