'Investment in Pakistan increased by 78%'

Published: January 13, 2020
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Hammad Azhar. PHOTO: ONLINE

Hammad Azhar. PHOTO: ONLINE

LAHORE: Federal Minister of Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar on Sunday said that investment in the country had increased manifold due to the prudent policies of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government.

Addressing an event in Lahore, he said that PTI government had not only uplifted the ailing economy but also virtually put it on a path of growth.

“Investment in the country has increased by 78%,” he said.

He said that the value of rupee was now stabilising and inflation would come down in the coming months.

“The year 2019 was of economic stability, while 2020 will be the year of progress and prosperity,” he said.

Commenting on the hike in the rates of utility bills, the minister noted that steps were being taken to reduce burden of prices of electricity and gas on the common man.

On Thursday, during his tour of Japan, Azhar had met Japan-Pakistan Business Cooperation Committee (JPBCC) Chairman Teruo Asada in Tokyo.

The two sides discussed strengthening the economic cooperation and increasing bilateral investments to eliminate obstacles and overcome difficulties that obstruct the smooth flow of trade and investment between the two countries.

While appreciating Japan’s role as a premier development partner of Pakistan, the minister stated that Pakistan was ready to welcome Japanese businesses in all the sectors of economy.

Azhar has in the past too spoken about the positive economic indicators of the country maintaining that investment inflows, foreign exchange reserves, revenue collection, current account balance, trade balance, ease of doing business, Public Sector Development Programme spending, Stock Exchange performance and inflation had been in affirmative.

In November last year, Azhar said that the foreign portfolio investment, which was flowing out for the last three years, had grown by $350 million, which was equivalent to a growth of 137%.

The minister observed that the foreign exchange reserves, which constantly were depleting by $500 million per month since 2017 had been stable since January 2019 despite the fact that the government had made record payments for debt servicing amounting to around $10bn.

On the revenue front, he said the number of tax filers had increased by 55% as the domestic revenues had increased by 25% during the first quarter.

He declared there had been a growth of 15% in overall revenue despite the fact that imports in the country were on a decreasing trend.

The economic affairs minister highlighted that the circular debt, which had mounted to Rs1,200 billion from Rs450 billion, mainly during the previous government’s last couple of months, was now only witnessing a Rs12 billion per month increase. Previously, it had seen Rs38 billion per month increase.

He expressed confidence that the piling up of circular debt would be reduced to zero by December 2020.

Azhar pointed out that the country had also made a significant improvement in ease of doing business by moving up 28 points, adding that steps were being taken to further improve the score.

While talking about exports, he said garment exports had grown by 36%, rice by 52%, and footwear by 54%, respectively, during the first quarter.

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