Minister for Economic Affairs Division Hammad Azhar
Minister for Economic Affairs Division Hammad Azhar

ISLAMABAD—Minister for Economic Affairs Division Hammad Azhar Tuesday informed the National Assembly that the country had embarked on a journey to progress and development after the government stabilized the national economy due to its prudent strategy.

Taking part in the motion to discuss the economic conditions of the country, he said, “The journey to development has taken the start in the country, as now the economic condition is stabilized, current account deficit has decreased. We are expecting high growth in the future”.

He said now the current account deficit had come down by 84 percent. The market-driven currency was stable at Rs 155 to a dollar since June 2019.

The minister said the country’s economic conditions were in bad condition during the tenure of the Pakistan Muslim League (N).

He said the PML-N government had wasted about 20 billion dollars to artificially stabilize the rate of the dollar.

He said due to effective policies of the government, the foreign exchange reserves were improving and the current account deficit was shrinking.

He said the government had also cleared short term liabilities worth Rs 400 billion, recalling that the country was heading to default when the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) came into power.

The minister said the government was all set to enter the higher growth trajectory in the next fiscal year.

He said the price of wheat had been stabilized in three provinces while efforts were being made to reduce the commodity price in Sindh.

He said fertilizer prices had already been decreased by Rs 300 to Rs 400 per bag. He said that negotiations were also underway to further decrease the price of fertilizer.

He said the price of electricity had increased due to the expensive tariff agreement signed by the PML-N government. He said the gas companies which were in profit had been pushed into Rs 160 deficit by the PML-N government.

Hammad said the government took tough decisions to steer the country out of bad economic conditions and avoid the looming default. He said the government paid off over 10 billion dollars of debt in its first year in power, which stood the highest debt-servicing done by any government.

He said the government was still paying the interest of Rs 400 billion loans taken by the PML-N government to pay the circular debt.

He reiterated the government was determined to bring to zero the circular debt by December 2020.

Due to the steps taken by the government, he said, the country’s foreign exchange reserve had increased substantially.

He said the international rating agency Moody’s international had upgraded Pakistan’s raking.

The minister admitted that inflation had increased due to tough steps taken by the government keeping in view the position of the economy.

However, he said the government was taking measures to provide relief to the common man.

He expressed the hope that the price of the sugar would also come down in the coming days.

Initiating the debate, PML-N leader Khawaja Asif said the nation was confronting the crucial issues of inflation which must be addressed on an emergency basis.

He said the beneficiaries of wheat and sugar crises should be held accountable. He said his party would not become part of any conspiracy against the government but would support every step to strengthen the democracy in the country.

Khawaja Muhammad Asif said, “Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leadership has not fulfilled the promises made with people of the country during their tenure of opposition.”

He alleged that the national economy had deteriorated under the PTI government. He said his party would work for supremacy of the parliament and constitution.

He also thanked the political parties for supporting the PML-N during the period of PTI’s sit-in. He also appreciated Syed Khursheed Shah for working for the supremacy of the parliament and democracy.

Khawaja Asif observed that his part’s government had ended the crisis of gas and electricity, eliminated terrorism and restored peace in the Karachi city.

Abdul Qadir Patel criticized the policies of the government and said the common people were facing hardship in running day to day matters.

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