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Nation special report

KARACHI: Admitting the worsening economic situation of the country, Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs, Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh has said that the overall economic condition of Pakistan is no good and the government has to take tough decisions to streamline the financial situation.

Talking to media-persons along with Sindh Governor Imran Ismail here on Thursday, he said that Pakistan is facing difficult economic conditions as the country’s foreign deposits have decreased to US$10 billion. The adviser said that the PTI government has taken difficult decisions to improve economy, adding that following an agreements with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and Asia Development Bank (ADB) would give loans on lower interest rates.

Sheikh went on to say that Pakistan and IMF have reached an agreement of $6 billion for a period of three years, while World Bank and ADB expected to give US$2 or US$3 billion worth loans.

He said: “Country’s total debt was Rs31,000 billion when the PTI government came into power, adding that the foreign exchange reserves had depleted, while deficit had increased.”

Pakistan’s economic condition was not good when PTI government came into power, adding that power tariff increase won’t affect those consuming 300 units.“We have taken traders in confidence,” he said and added relief in budget for common man is government’s priority. He said that the government wanted to make economy on stable ground and to achieve the required goal, concrete measures are being taken. “Granting loan from IMF is one of the measures in this direction”, he emphasised.

In another development, the British High Commissioner to Pakistan, Thomas Drew, called on Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and discussed matters of bilateral interest. Both sides underscored the need for enhanced cooperation in the areas of trade and economy.
The adviser informed that Pakistan had long historic ties with Britain and relations between the two countries needed to be further expended for the mutual benefits of the two sides. He briefed the envoy about the vision of the Prime Minister of Pakistan, saying his policies will lead to the social and economic development of the country.
The high commissioner felicitated the adviser on the assumption of charge as Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance. He said that both countries enjoyed excellent relations and they needed to further promote their economic relations. He informed that the British Airways would be coming to Pakistan in June this year.
Later, the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Country Director for Pakistan, Ms Xiaohong Yang, also called on the Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs. They discussed new financing for various programmes and development projects.