Results of government’s difficult decisions now showing: Hafeez Sheikh

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Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh
Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh on Saturday reviewed the economic performance of the country during the first three months of the financial year 2020.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, Sheikh said that two big deficits — foreign trade and fiscal — had been brought under control in the country.

He said that the trade deficit was brought down by 35 per cent while fiscal deficit was reduced by 36pc in the first quarter.

“These are big steps and their positive results have come forward,” Sheikh said.

Additionally, he noted that revenue had also increased by 16pc.

“One thing that we have really improved on in comparison to the previous year is non-tax revenue,” the finance adviser said.

He revealed that Rs406 billion had been collected in non-tax revenue which was a 140pc increase over the previous year.

“We think that this is a big achievement. In our budget, we have a Rs1,200 billion target, but I want to share the good news with you that we will increase this by Rs400bn and are confident to take it to Rs1,600bn.”

On the exchange rate front, the adviser to the prime minister said that it had been brought to a stable level over the past three months. He also stated that foreign exchange reserves had now been stabilised.

He said that net portfolio investment in the country had increased after three years by $340 million.

“Foreign investors are showing confidence in Pakistan’s economy right now,” Sheikh said.

The adviser said that the results of the assistance provided by the government to the export sector were starting to become visible, particularly in the production of the export sector.

He added that another target of the government, the employment of Pakistanis overseas, was also going well.

Sheikh said that confidence in the stock market had increased. He noted that in the past three months — from August till now — the stock market had risen from the 28,000 points level to 34,000.

“The results of the difficult decisions taken by the government are slowly becoming apparent,” he said, adding that international financial organisations like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank as well as foreign investors were now giving positive statements about Pakistan.