Islamabad: Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin is presenting the Pakistan Economic Survey 2020-21.
While addressing a presser, Tarin said that the economy is still recovering from the impacts of coronavirus pandemic.
Referring to the policies of Prime Minister Imran Khan's in combating Covid-19, PM said that several people were left unemployed when coronavirus pandemic hit Pakistan.
“The unemployment increased in the country due to coronavirus pandemic; however, due to Imran Khan’s visionary policy of not imposing a complete lockdown across the country, millions of people who lost jobs were hired again,” he said.
Tarin said that government had aimed at 2.1 percent growth of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) had predicted even lower, but the timely decisions by the government such as giving incentives to manufacturing textiles, construction and construction industry, helped the economy recover.
“The large-scale manufacturing witnessed a growth of 9 percent, while the growth of agriculture sector clocked in at 2.77 percent against a target of 2.8 percent, which was beyond our expectations,” he said.
Referring to inflation, Shaukat Tarin said that government had aimed at controlling the inflation while admitting that the prices of different essential commodities are still high and “affecting the common man".
Speaking over the concern of increasing debt in the country, the finance minister said that the surge in debt was inevitable and it had to rise considering there was a fiscal deficit in the country.
"The total debt has only surged by 1.7 trillion rupees from 2020-21 which is a huge decline if we compare it with previous years. I am not condemning the fact that debt is growing but, at the same time, our economy is also moving towards stability,” he said.
Speaking of remittances, Tarin said that Pakistan has broken record and has collected $26bn in remittances.
“Lately, our imports have seen an upward trend. Especially the import of food in the form of wheat and sugar is increasing. Earlier, we were net exporter of food but now, we have become a net importer. Our exports registered a growth but our remittances have also surged tremendously," he said.
Referring to the Ehsaas programme, Tarin said that it has been termed as one of the best and largest program by World Bank in terms of eradicating poverty.
Shaukat Tarin said that when China announced to outsource 85 million jobs, Pakistan wanted to avail this opportunity.
“We have also asked for feedback from the Chinese manufacturers, asking them what facilities they needed to invest in Pakistan's Special Economic Zones (SEZs),” he said.
Referring to IMF, Tarin said that it had asked the government to increase tariffs and taxes but that cannot be done as it will additionally burden the poor and the salaried class.
"This is a red line for the prime minister. We will not further burden the poor," he said.
Responding to a question, Tarin said that Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) will not serve notice to anyone.
“Next year we will end harassment by FBR. There are major changes on table,” he said.