Tarin criticises attempts at making economic growth rate 'controversial'
Confirming Pakistan's economy was currently growing at a rate of 3.94 per cent, Federal Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin said on Sunday that the growth rate should not have been made controversial.
"I have appeared with the provisional result of 2020-21 with me, according to which our economy is growing at a rate of 3.94 per cent," he said while addressing a presser in Islamabad today.
"When the government took power in 2018, there was a current account deficit of $20 billion while the fiscal deficit was also very high."
Above all, he added, our dollar [reserves] had ended, and we didn't have the capacity to bridge the current account deficit.
"So, the government had to go to the IMF [International Monetary Fund] and this time, they took a stern stance as compared to 2008 when there was a friendly atmosphere and we were assisted."
"But this time, they did front-loading, increasing the tariffs and interest rate and had the exchange rate devalued," the finance minister stated.
Read Agri sustainability a challenge: Tarin
Due to the situation, Tarin added, the economy went into a tailspin and growth decreased, but stabilisation was necessary.
"The prudent policies of [Prime Minister] Imran Khan saved us, with strategic lockdowns carried out," he noted. "But, our constraints with the IMF were already ongoing," he maintained.
"The government's focus on some targeted areas, including housing, agriculture, industries, especially exports."
"This resulted in stabilisation as well as growth. So, the [growth] of 3.94% should not have been made controversial. It became possible as the result of efforts by the planning division."
This is a figure, he said, that gives us hope that if we proceed in the same trajectory, we may achieve a five per cent growth next year. It could rise to more than six per cent the year next to that, he said.
"We are working on some 12 immediate, short-term and long-term plans, and we will submit a report in this regard to the premier before this month's end."
"The strategy focuses on price stability and inflation, that has increased worldwide and Pakistan is no exception to it."
"We are no longer a food surplus country, but a food deficit country. We will have to import a lot of things."
"This didn't happen because of the incumbent government, but due to the fact that the rulers didn't pay attention to agriculture."
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To bring about a stability in prices, the government will need to take administrative measures in the beginning, the finance minister observed. "We will have to deal sternly with those involved in hoarding and profiteering."
"We will increase Pakistan's food supplies and lay the structures comprising warehousing, cold storage and enable farmers to sell their produce themselves."
"We will have to grow the economy as that generates jobs, boosts revenue and the general income."
"We have our focus on uplifting the downtrodden segments of the society and we will introduce economic schemes for them."
"Exports and revenue hold special significance for Pakistan and we have to increase their existing level."
He added that it was also important to improve the banking sector.
"We have to opt for inclusive and sustainable growth, and across the board growth for all!"
"The government will be focusing on addressing fundamental fault lines," Tarin concluded.