*PM gives roadmap to ministries, departments for next 3-month
Prime Minister Imran Khan has given a roadmap to ministries and departments of their targets for the next three months and he will himself review performance of every ministry. Addressing a press conference in Islamabad after federal cabinet meeting, special assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said that the prime minister gave directions to all ministries to take maximum efforts to complete public sector development programs of their ministry in next three months. It is said that the present government of Pakistan has put the country’s economy on track, adding that the trade deficit decreased 50 percent. Furthermore, the foreign investment rate has changed dramatically after three years due to the policies of present government and the local currency is recovering due to the government’s efforts. She also said reform agenda of the incumbent government is being resisted by status quo people who do not want change in the system, adding that the prime minister reassured the cabinet that government will not back away from reforms agenda as it is agenda for the development and progress of Pakistan. The government wants to transform challenges into opportunities. The government statistics showed that the growth momentum of the Pakistani economy, at 5.5 percent in FY2018, became unsustainable due to rising macroeconomic imbalances i.e. high and increasing fiscal and current account deficits. The twin deficits always persisted in the Pakistani economy, however, in FY2018 trade deficit was historically high both in monetary value ($ 32 billion) and as a percent of GDP (10.1 percent), while the fiscal deficit reached 6.5 percent of GDP. The contained inflation and maintained exchange rate accelerated the growth in domestic demand.
High consumption expenditure and government spending in turn led to massive surge in imports. Some of required adjustments on fiscal accounts and exchange rate were delayed in FY2018 being an election year, that resulted in depletion of foreign reserves and increase in monetary borrowing. Moreover, over time, the government would have to make concerted efforts to tackle structural weaknesses in the economy side to avoid a repeat of similar crises in future, and ensure a sustainable growth path for the economy.
Prime Minister Imran Khan further directed to work on job creation and parallel empowerment strategies for youth of the country. He said he will himself monitor the progress so that decisions are made on time and red tapism is avoided. The prime minister will have a meeting with all federal secretaries after the cabinet meeting. Imran Khan apprised the cabinet of political situation and said all indicators of the economy are on positive trajectory despite law and order situation in Pakistan. It is also said that the cabinet that economic indicators have witnessed improvements and economy is moving in right direction. Foreign investment has increased in the country and stock market is stabilizing. Ease of doing business ranking has also witnessed significant improvements. The cabinet approved the waiver of passport and fee requirement for pilgrims of Kartarpur Corridor. She said the visa on arrival facility will be given to Sikh pilgrims, doing away the other requirements. Advisor to Prime Minister on Institutional Reforms Dr. Ishrat Hussain apprised the cabinet on new local government system.