ISLAMABAD: Coordinator to the Prime Minister on Economy and Energy Bilal Azhar Kayani on Sunday said that due to hectic efforts by the incumbent government during the last 08 months, the micro-economic indicators of the national economy had started improving gradually.
Addressing a press conference here, he said at the imposition of Imran government in 2018, the economy was on the path of sustainable economic growth with 6 percent GDP and less than 4 percent inflation. He said that work on energy production projects under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Project was also initiated to produce about 12,000 MW energy.
Besides, a programme with International Monetary Fund (IMF) was completed and an operation against terrorism was launched to eradicate the menace of terrorism from the country.
He said the PML-N government in 2013-18 led by Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, pulled the country out of darkness and put it on a fast track for economic development, creating over 6 million job opportunities.
Then, he said Imran Khan was imposed and during four years of his government, inflation continuously increased, four finance ministers were changed in four consecutive years, adding that over 20 million people were pushed below the poverty line.
Bilal Azhar Kayani said the debt grew by 70 percent from Rs 2, 500 billion to Rs 4,400 billion in four years, which was the highest in the history of Pakistan. He said the debt taken during Pakistan Muslim League-N tenure was spent on the constitution of motorways, CPECP and maintaining peace and security in the country.
He said that it was a matter of grave concern that the people who had destroyed the economy during the last 4 years were now delivering lectures on the economy.
He said the government, which came into power with a motto to reduce expenses, gave four budgets with a fiscal deficit.
He said for the first time in the history of Pakistan after 1952, the national GDP witnessed negative growth, adding that electricity circular debt soared from Rs 11,00 billion to Rs 2,500 billion and the current account deficit was recorded at Rs 1,700 billion.
He said all the hardships, which were being faced by the people in the country were the result of the IMF program that was initiated by Shaukat Tareen under the directives of Imran Khan. He said they not only negotiated a program with IMF but later they broke the agreement at a time when the foreign exchange reserves of the country were at the lowest level.
Bilal Azhar Kayani said that the current account deficit during the last 8 months narrowed by 68 percent as compared to the corresponding period of last year, whereas the trade deficit also reduced significantly.
Besides, the fiscal deficit came down from 3.4 percent to 2.8 percent, he said adding that there is a primary surplus of 0.9 percent of GDP this year as compared to a primary deficit of 0.6 percent recorded during last year of
While condemning the criticism on the national economic policies of the incumbent government by Imran Khan and his economic team, Bilal said the current economic difficulties, including inflation have been directly caused by the disastrous decisions of the Imran Khan government, which destroyed Pakistan’s economy in four years and deliberately pushed the country towards default before leaving the government. The current government has averted default and made significant progress towards stabilizing and rebuilding the economy, he added.
“There is a primary surplus of 0.9 percent of GDP this year as compared to a primary deficit of 0.6 percent during last year,” he said adding the current economic difficulties, including inflation, have been directly caused by the disastrous decisions of the Imran Khan government which destroyed Pakistan’s economy in four years and deliberately pushed the country towards default before leaving the government last year.
“Imran Khan’s government not only almost doubled Pakistan’s debt but also caused a current account deficit of $17.4 billion in the fiscal year 2022,” he said adding that this figure would have been even higher if the current government had not taken mitigating measures after assuming office in April 2022.
Bilal Azhar said that the previous government’s actions eroded trust in the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The government led by Imran Khan not only broke its promises with IMF to stall the IMF program and push the country towards default, but it also actively tried to sabotage the current government’s efforts to revive the IMF program.
However, Bilal said that the government was re-negotiating with IMF and other multilateral partners besides restoring relations with them and reached close to staff level agreement.
He said the incumbent government was taking all necessary measures for the 9th Review to pull Pakistan out of the current economic crisis, adding that the technical level agreement with the IMF had been reached and the Staff Level Agreement had been held up because of a lack of assured financing of $3 billion.
He said that to bridge the external financing gap, one of the friendly countries assured to provide support of $2 billion and another country would also provide $1 billion.
The Coordinator said that despite of all the financial constraints, the government was determined to protect underprivileged segments of society and enhance the allocation for Benazir Income Support Program.
Replaying to a question, he said that after the IMF program, the inflows from friendly countries would receive, and exports would strengthen, which would improve external account and enhance the GDP growth.