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PM Imran Khan is pleased over economic growth

PM Imran Khan believes the growing economy is generating jobs and raising income of masses.

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Prime Minister Imran Khan Sunday said the country’s projected growth rate at above 4 per cent would spur economic activities in the country, creating job opportunities as well as reducing inflation.

Responding to public queries during a live TV programme ‘Aapka Wazir-e-Azam Aap kai Sath’, the prime minister said economic growth rate had baffled his political opponents who wanted the government to fail in meeting these economic challenges left behind by the successive governments.

He exemplified that the leadership in Malaysia, South Korea and China uplifted their deteriorated economies. In Pakistan, the political governments after 1988 weakened the institutions to loot public money. First they (previous leaders) damaged the country by committing corruption and now hurting it to protect the looted money, he added.

He said had the opposition been sincere with the country, they should be happy over economic turnaround achieved by the incumbent government.

He said after 2016, the country had the lowest debt burden as now the government was returning the foreign debt. He said the government inherited 18.2% current account deficit and for the first time, it went surplus. Calling it quality growth, the prime minister hoped the economic growth will touch 4.5% in last quarter.

Read more: Pakistan’s credit profile reflects economic strength: Moody’s

Explaining further as how the government achieved 4% GDP growth, Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar said the National Accounts Committee worked as per UN standardized systems and fed by 26 government agencies.

He said the GDP growth was backed by 9% growth in industrial sector, record cement, fertilizer, automobile, bikes and urea sale, 8.5% growth in housing sector and bumper crops of wheat, sugarcane and others. He was confident to say that the growth would touch 4.3 or 4.4% till last quarter.

Asked how the government would bring down the inflation, the prime minister said it was the one thing which made him sleepless as the price hike of ghee, sugar and flour put extra burden on the poor people.

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He assured the nation that the government was trying to enhance agricultural produce to reduce eatables prices. The farmers were being given Kisan Card to provide fertilizers and other inputs on subsidized rates and support 65% of country’s farmers owning less than five acres of land.

Moreover, the workers would also be trained to guide the farmers about the new agricultural techniques to help them achieve enhanced production. Even, if we enhance wheat crop by 10%, the country will have surplus crops, he added.

The prime minister said the government’s initiative of farmer-to-market initiative would also help bring down the eatables’ prices.

The prime minister told the nation that from June 2020 to May this year, oil prices were doubled in the world but the government just passed on 11.18 % impact; palm oil prices increased by 70% but the government increased it by 27% and Urea by 16% against 74% price hike in the international market.

The prime minister said his government had inherited historic problems, with current account deficit and burden of loans. He said how they had steered the boat out of these difficulties was a crucial phase.

“We have to go through these ordeals. I am pleased over the success of 4 per cent growth rate which according to experts is estimated to further increase,” he added.

The prime minister said there were two problems, price hike and unemployment, but when the wheel of economy moves on and growth rate increases, people would get employment, reducing their poverty.

The prime minister said record Rs 4,143 billion tax collection by Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) was historic achievement.

He said the automation system would be fully introduced. In the past, it was resisted by the people taking benefits from the corrupt regime, as they did not want it to happen.

Economic growth rate

The prime minister said, the track and trace system would also help the system to function smoothly, besides, enhancing the tax collection.

In order to ensure future food security, the prime minister said the government was taking measures to produce DAP, palm oil and olive oil locally as the country had immense potential to meet its domestics needs as well as for exports.

He told another questioner that the previous governments could not realize the potential of olive and avocado in the country. However, the government had started massive olive plantation to bring about an olive revolution.

He also assured that the government would promote new crops taking advantage of 12 climatic zones in the country.

Read more: PM Khan reiterates the promises of Pakistan’s agriculture sector revival

In the past, he regretted, no focus was made on agriculture and the conditions of famers. The developed countries were not blessed with such resources but due to research and dedication, they excelled in this sector.

The prime minister said the government had enacted law to ensure payment to sugarcane farmers promptly for the first time in country’s history.

Farmers got full and timely payment for their produce. The country also witnessed record agri- yields this year as wheat produce increased by 8. 1%, rice 13.6% and sugarcane 22%, he added.

“This is just a beginning. They will bring technology with upgraded seeds to give further boost to this sector,” he expressed his resolve.

The prime minister further elaborated that in the past, there was discrepancy in the payments made to farmers and the middle man.

On the Chinese model, they would introduce with the help of information technology a virtual market, he added.

He said about 900 storage facilities would be set up, besides enhancing the mode of transportation. Food processing units would also be set up and the government would extend loans in this regard.

The prime minister said life was a lesson full of ups and downs and no one aspired to rise in life without overcoming different challenges. “The one who succumbs to difficulties in life fails,” he added.

Read more: Breaking Out of the Textile Economy – Pakistan’s Industrial Policy for the Next Decade

Referring to his cricket career, he said it was based upon continuous struggle and competition.

During coronavirus pandemic, their successful strategy saved public lives and their livelihood, he added. “Insha’Allah, the country will witness further progress,” he said.

About the economic issues, he said the opposition parties knew these issues, and they wanted to get NRO and tried to create hurdles and blackmail the government.

About normalization of trade ties with India, the prime minister said that from day first, he tried to improve the bilateral ties, but now after India’s illegal and unilateral steps of August 5 on Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), it would not happen.

Under such situation, it would amount to treachery with the people of Kashmir. Around 100,000 Kashmiris had sacrificed their lives. Restoring trade with India was unthinkable unless they reverse their 5 August illegal steps.

About Palestine issue, the prime minister the situation was similar to what was happening in IIOJK. Kashmiris and Palestinians were facing illegal settlements aimed at changing the demography with continuation of system of oppression.

The prime minister said only two-state was the only solution as step forward. Even in the US and West people were raising their voices against injustice with Palestinian people.

To a query, the prime minister informed that the government would construct 10 dams to overcome the looming threat of water scarcity and global warming.

He regretted that water reservoirs should have been constructed some fifty years back.

Along with construction of these dams, a telemetry system would be made fully functional to ensure just water distribution among provinces.  He said due to water theft, the water did not reach to weak people.

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The prime minister said the government was mulling over a system to ensure water supply to tail end.

He observed that it was Sindh government’s responsibility to ensure water supply to the tail end and protect interests of the weak growers.

About Rawalpindi Ring Road project, the prime minister said it was vital for addressing the traffic issues in the city.

He said someone had provided him information about the commission of wrongdoings in the project.

Upon inquiry, it was surfaced that road alignment was changed to benefit the powerful. After two weeks a complete inquiry would be submitted before him and appropriate action would be initiated against responsible, he added.

The prime minister, to another question, said a democratic leader came through a process of struggle.

He said the opposition parties would not succeed because of their vested motives instead of public-centered objectives.

Read more: Food security in danger: Pakistan Economy Watch

The prime minister said they wanted to blackmail the government on the basis of their corruption cases. For the last 30 years, they had been ruling the country.

“The people who had been roaming on bicycles, are now living in palatial houses in London where even a British premier cannot afford to think of such luxury,” he added.

He said Pakistan has been on the right path with all economic indicators showing positive signs.

The prime minister stressed upon proper use of natural resources for development of the agriculture sector.

About health cards facility, the prime minister said the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government was providing free treatment facility upto Rs 1 million to each family in the province whereas by the end of year, all the residents in Punjab province would get this facility.

Health cards, he said was a complete health system. The private sector would be encouraged to come forward in setting up health facilities.

Economic growth rate

In the upcoming budget, they would get facility of importing duty-free equipment. Besides, they would be offered government-owned lands at affordable prices to establish health facilities, he added.

The prime minister to a question, said the most difficult thing was to reform an institution which had been corrupted when compared with establishment of a new one.

About Punjab police reforms, the prime minister said a former IG Punjab late Abbas’ had furnished a report during 1993 which indicated that about 25,000 inductions into police were made after taking bribes, some among them who were recruited had been hardened criminals.

He observed that in the past, the police force was misused for carrying out illegal acts, but now they working to reform the force and expressed the confidence that Punjab police would be modelled on KP police.

Responding to an expatriate caller, the prime minister said that anyone whose properties were under illegal occupation could register their complaints at Pakistan Citizen Portal or contact on the relevant telephone numbers given on its website.

Read more: Pakistan economy to suffer if Afghan peace talks fail

The prime minister said all land record would be soon computerized in Punjab and KPK provinces so that no one could encroach over or occupy the lands.

The prime minister referred to Riasat e Madina, where the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) changed character of his people.

The Muslims rose on the basis of strength of their character and became world leaders. People embraced Islam not under any duress but after getting inspired form their moral character, he added.

Two families in Pakistan ruled the country and plundered it, he said, adding it had always been a corrupt leadership which ravaged morality of a nation and destroyed a country. Wars did not destroy countries but it was the lack of morality which damaged a nation, he further observed.

The prime minister said, a committee headed by former justice Shaikh Azmat Saeed would help in regulating the mushrooming housing societies in the country.

As a widow called for prime minister’s help to resolve a dispute involving payment of dues against her house (now recovered from illegal occupation) in a housing society in Lahore, the prime minister assured her of the government’s support to resolve the matter.

He said the powerful mafias always wanted to live above law which could challenge the survival of any country. All the civilized nations were identical of having rule of law, justice system and no room for nepotism.

Read more: Pakistan on-track to become 23rd biggest economy, US intelligence

“The battle for which I went into politics was to ensure rule of law and make the powerful mafias accountable. I assure you, whether I am in power or not, I will fight for it. We are ready to sit with judiciary to bring about judicial reforms,” he remarked.

The prime minister said the NAB and other institutions had also been working prior to PTI government but there was hell of difference in their performance when the incumbent government allowed them to work independently.

He said since its creation till 2017, NAB recovered Rs 290 billion but during two years of PTI government, they recovered Rs 484 billion. Similarly, the Punjab Anit Corruption Department recovered Rs 2.6 billion in 10 years of PML-N government and retrieved land worth Rs 218 billion in just previous two and half years.

“This is the battle to bring powerful under law. This is Jihad. We are fighting to recover money from the powerful. Earlier, they never faced jail but this time they are being made accountable,” the prime minister said.

He said once the powerful mafias and looters of public money were made accountable before law, the petty criminals would automatically mend their ways getting scared of accountability.

Read more: PM Imran Khan praised as circular debt reduces, economy grows

Even after concluding the program, it was decided to keep the telephone lines open for another half hour to be noted by the Prime Minister’s staff and resolve the issues accordingly, in order to facilitate maximum number of people.

Courtesy: APP

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