ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday said the current economic scenario of Pakistan required tactical solutions to address economic problems and stressed rising above politics to sort out the financial issues confronting the country.
Addressing the ‘Turn Around Pakistan’ conference, he said economic self-reliance was the key to achieving the goals of development and prosperity.
The event organized by Ministry of Planning Development and Special Initiatives gathered stakeholders from all walks of life with an objective to finding solutions to the country’s current socio-economic issues.
The prime minister said Pakistan was facing many external and internal challenges which were compounded by the existing commodity super- cycle and geo-political situation.
He said as the economic growth did not offer enough opportunities for national progress, short-term measures could act as a catalyst for speeding up the growth.
He said financial self-reliance was the top most priority of the coalition government.
He said focusing on the areas of agriculture, agro-based industry and exports was vital to strengthen the national economy.
He stressed the need for judicious utilization of the $2 billion tranche from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and pledged that every single penny would be spent prudently.
He also mentioned the support of China during the tough financial times and helping Pakistan in its journey towards economic stability.
PM Sharif said there was no dearth of talent and potential in Pakistan and emphasized setting the right direction to achieve the goals of prosperity.
He pointed out that several vital projects such as Reko Diq were abandoned in the past that damaged the development agenda of the country.
He said also, many power generation projects were stopped that resulted in shortage of electricity and impacted the industrial growth.
The prime minister expressed satisfaction that the conference engaged all the relevant stakeholders which could hold the development sector together from across the nation.
He said wider and inclusive consultations of experts belonging to diversified fields could be helpful in providing solutions to come out of this economic quagmire.
Finance Minister Miftah Ismael said the government gave relief to people despite tough circumstances.
He said the government imposed direct taxes and also the Super Tax to help the country become self-reliant.
He said the previous government took Rs 20,000 billion loan in around four years which put a heavy burden on the national exchequer.
He mentioned that tax had been levied on rich and vowed to also bring the traders and shopkeepers into tax net.
Federal Minister for Planning Development & Special Initiatives, Professor Ahsan Iqbal said the aim was to take input, understand and resolve hurdles in economic growth in order to place country’s economy back on track.
He said the solutions of the conference would be aimed at short term results, adding that if substantial, these due deliverance compact ideas could be extended on to mid and long-term objectives.
He said the government had already taken necessary short-term actions to stabilize the economy and deal with the looming balance of payments crisis.
However, he said, the government’s focus is to ferret out the medium to long-term solutions to optimise country’s economy to tap its full potential in line with Vision 2025.
The conference was attended by representatives of political parties, federal ministries, provincial governments, national and international private sector entrepreneurs, international development and financial institutions, academia, think tanks, independent experts, NGOs and civil society.