Pakistan’s economy shows positive turnaround despite challenges: PM

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ISLAMABAD, Oct 12 (APP):Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi Thursday said that country’s economy had shown a positive turnaround and was fast growing in the face of numerous challenges inherited by it at macro economic level in 2013.
Talking to a private television channel, he said the government was fully focusing on increasing exports and to reduce imports and in that connection it had given incentives to exporters and was interacting with the business community to take their inputs regularly.
The prime minister said, “Pakistan of 2017 is very different from that of 2013.” The country had achieved six percent economic growth as compared to 3.6 percent during the previous government era, while inflation had been brought down to a single digit.
The prime minister said he had talked about a grand dialogue among the political parties on economic policies, adding that whosoever come into power the economic policies should continue.
Regarding privatization policy, he said that whenever the government tried to privatize national entities it was made a political issue. “We do not want to create instability in the country.”
He said the federal government had asked the Sindh Government to take ownership of the Pakistan Steel Mills for free of charge, but it declined the offer. In the present situation giving salaries to employees of steel mills was the only solution, he added.
The government was also ready to hand over the PIA to any province, he said. The prime minister said that privatization was the only solution of PIA but unfortunately neither the courts nor the provinces and even the political parties did not agree on it.
He said there was a need to create political consensus on it, because Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and Pakistan Steel Mills were the two big entities incurring billions of rupees losses to the national exchequer.
To a question about stepping down of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar , the prime minister said Ishaq Dar was the best finance minister of Pakistan at this time, adding that he did a tremendous job in strengthening of country’s economy.
The prime minister brushed aside the impression that any international financial institution had informed the government that they would not deal with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar. “ I am fully satisfied with his performance and he should continue as
the finance minister till the court’s judgment.”
To another question regarding return of Hassan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz, the prime minister said they were independent people and they would make their own decisions about returning to Pakistan.
About Sheikh Rashid’s allegation in LNG deal, the prime minister refuted the allegations regarding corruption in the LNG project, adding that the liquefied natural gas (LNG) deal with Qatar was done in a transparent manner.
“ Such a man (Shaikh Rashid)is leveling allegations on me whose own hands are dirty and I am responsible for its profit and loss.” the Prime Minister said. The whole information about LNG deal had been placed before the standing committees of the parliament and it had also been published, he added.
The prime minister said such kind of contracts were between the government to government and it could not be advertised, adding that he, however, had asked the Pakistan State Oil (PSO) to ask the Qatar government whether it could be put on the website or not “and we are waiting for their reply.”
About the supreme court’s decision regarding former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in Panama Papers case, the prime minister said the history would judge the decision. About Captain (Retd) Muhammad Safdar’s remarks in the National Assembly regarding the Ahmadi community, the Prime Minister said these were Safdar’s personal views and the party did not agree with it.
He said such kind of provocation should be avoided, and being the parliamentary head he would ask Muhammad Safdar to explain his position on the issue.