Economy showing signs of recovery: Finance Minister

Economy showing signs of recovery: Finance Minister

ISLAMABAD, Sep 15 (APP): Caretaker Federal Minister for Finance, Revenue, Economic Affairs and Privatization Dr Shamshad Akhtar said here on Friday that country’s economy was showing signs of recovery owing to efforts made by the caretaker government.

“The macroeconomic indicators, if you view them, you can find some betterment. There are some signs of economic recovery. Even if it is just starting,” the minister said while addressing a press conference.

The minister was flanked by Caretaker Minister for Information and Broadcasting Murtaza Solangi; and Caretaker Minister for Energy, Power and Petroleum Muhammad Ali.

While deliberating upon the indicators showing positive development, the finance minister said the Consumer Price Index (CPI) has shortly declined from over 38 percent in May to 27.2 percent now, adding this was an important indicator to show betterment.

The minister said the caretaker setup had inherited several challenges however it was not frightened by them and trying to deal with them one by one, adding the government’s strategy was to prudently manage the challenges, make efforts to control expenditure and enhance revenues, which would help improve the situation

She said the country had come out of some difficulties and the situation would improve further when ‘we go forward.’

Shamshad Akhtar said the productive sectors witnessed betterment, including agriculture, which is expected to yield good output in both minor and major crops that would have a positive impact on economic growth prospectus of the country.

She said the industrial sector was also showing improvement, citing growth in cement industry adding that as soon as the activity picks-up gradually the industry would also grow. Talking about the services sector, the minister said it is very vibrant sector and has been linked with every sector.

In addition, she said, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) had kept interest rate stagnant that would also help improve situation by reducing cost of borrowing by industry and help its revival.

She said the government had also have talked to donors, expressing the hope that in addition to the normal flows from them, funding in some areas would be fast-tracked.

She said the government was expecting around $2 billion assistance on fast-track basis. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is expected to keep its funding under Revitalizing Informal Settlements and their Environments (RISE) on fast track, the minister added.

She said government was focusing on reforms of those sectors which are beneficial for people and help build confidence of investors to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). She said the government was working on different initiatives to improve the FDI and ensure self-sustaining growth.

For remittance, she said, Rs80 billion has been allocated for initiatives to improve remittances through formal channels, adding that Rs20 billion out of this amount has been released to banks for this purpose.

She said the foreign exchange reserves position is also stable adding that Exchange Companies Reform and anti-smuggling operations stabilized the rupee. “This stability came without any bank intervention.”

The minister said export-import bank was also being operationalized. She said there were many other initiatives that showed the government was making efforts to bring about positive change.

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