PTI govt will continue exposing opposition’s corruption: Hammad

ISLAMABAD, Jan 12 (APP): Minister for Energy Muhammad Hammad Azhar Wednesday said the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) government would continue unveiling the corruption of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders.

“Whatever fuss you create, we will continue unearthing billions of rupees deposited in the accounts of your lower staff, peons and ‘rairhi walas’,” he said while responding to the speech of PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on the Supplementary Finance Bill, 2021 in the National Assembly.

The minister said whenever a person from the treasury benches stood up to reply to the opposition’s statement, the opposition leaders ran away like thieves. Earlier, the House proceedings remained adjourned for almost an hour due to the disruption caused by opposition on the pretext of ministers’ absence.

Hammad said the PML-N was giving the impression that they had left a developed country but in fact they put the economy on the verge of collapse. “All the international credit rating agencies in the last year of PML-N government downgraded Pakistan’s economy, while the same agencies up-graded it again after key structural reforms taken by the current government,” he added.

He pointed out that the PTI government had to take very difficult decisions to save the country from being defaulting. It was appreciated from all across the world on the way it handled the COVID situation.

“Had we followed the proposals of opposition parties of imposing complete lockdown during the peak of pandemic, the situation would have been worst in the country and the inflation would have been much higher.”

There were numerous countries which, he said, completely closed down their economies on the pressure of COVID pandemic but Prime Minister Imran Khan resisted saying that the poor people would die of hunger if complete lock down were imposed in the country.

Hammad said Pakistan’s debt to GDP ratio had declined as compared to other countries during the pandemic. With respect to the Independent Power Producers (IPPs), the minister said Rs 2,300 billion had been saved so far due to prudent policies of the current government on IPPs.

Speaking on the exports of country, the minister highlighted that first the PML-N government brought down the annual export from $25 billion to $21 billion and then ended with $23 billion in its last year.

“We are going to achieve the $30 billion export target by the end of current fiscal year,” he added. Hammad said the poor man was receiving the best medical treatment from the best private hospitals in the country thanks to the government’s Sehat Sahoolat Card scheme.

The Federal Government, he said, was also ready to help Sindh Government in launching the Sehat Sahoolat Card programme.

He said Pakistan’s economy grew by 4% last fiscal year, while by end of the current fiscal year, the growth rate would exceed the 5% mark. Similarly, he said, the revenue collection would also exceed the Rs 6 trillion mark. “Now we are moving from de-industrialization to re-industrialization as the country’s Large Scale Manufacturing (LSM) sector is growing by 10% to 15%.” In the agriculture sector, Hammad said, sugarcane, rice, wheat, maize, gram and other crops were yielding record growth and farmers were getting good rate of their produce.

“These are the examples of robust growth in various sectors of the country.” Although it was a fact that there was a shortage of Urea fertilizer but that was temporary and artificial as its production remained the highest during the current year.

Around 20,000 to 25,000 tons of Urea was being produced daily. In fact due to very high prices of DAP in the international market, he said, the farmers started using Urea in place of DAP despite the fact that the former was not a substitute of the latter.

Hoarding was also one element of shortage of the fertilizer, he added. Speaking about the Supplementary Finance Bill, the minister said Bilawal Bhutto was wrongly briefed on the imposition of new taxes.

A major portion of the taxes was adjustable and refundable as the purpose of new taxes was documentation of maximum sectors which would help raise revenue collection in future, he added. He said the tax exemptions were withdrawn only on the luxury items consumed by the rich people.

He said the circular debt of Rs 130 billion added during the last year of PML-N government, raising the total to Rs 450 billion. He said due to wrong agreements signed by the previous government, the capacity payment of IPPS in 2013 was Rs 180 billion per year, which had now increased to over Rs 800 billion.

He feared that the capacity payment would further increase up to Rs 2,500 billion per year. With respect to petrol and diesel prices, Hammad hoped that the prices would come down soon with their reduction in the international market. Gas, urea, petrol, and diesel prices were still the lowest as compared to other regional countries, he said.