Experts appreciate gov’t strategy, initiatives on Covid-19

Governor State Bank of Pakistan, Dr. Reza Baqir said that due to the best approach and policies of the government under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan Pakistan could efficiently handle the Covid-19 situation. After World War-II, it was the biggest global crisis

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KARACHI: Speakers at the two-day fifth “The Future Summit”, beginning here on Wednesday, appreciated the government’s policies, strategy and initiatives for successfully tackling with COVID-19 epidemic, and the resultant social and economic issues.

Governor State Bank of Pakistan, Dr Reza Baqir said that due to the best approach and policies of the government under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan Pakistan could efficiently handle the Covid-19 situation. After World War II, it was the biggest global crisis.

However, Pakistan succeeded in strengthening the economic indicators against many other countries wherein their economies were badly shattered because of lockdowns. And, even then, they suffered huge human losses.

Pakistan government adopted the policy of “Safety of Life and Livelihood” and allowed to continue economic activities in the country amid strict checks over the spread of the coronavirus.

Prime Minister and his financial team deserved credit for saving the country from the economic crisis, along with minimizing the Covid-hit casualties.

The Government extended financial support to trade and industries to offset the Covid shocks, which otherwise would have been compelled to off-load a big number of their employees creating chaos in the society.

Besides, it distributed billions of rupees among the poor through Ehsas Cash Programme to make them able to meet their basic needs till the covid-19 situation improved.

Under this programme, out of every three households, one family got a good amount of cash and the programme got world appreciation.

“Pakistanis should feel proud of the government’s strategy on Covid-19. From top leadership the economic managers’ response was very proactive,” he remarked.

He spoke on the steps taken by the State Bank of Pakistan, in pursuance of the government’s policy, for savage of trade and industry from Covid-19, and to overall support to the economy. These included the launching of a Temporary Economic Refinancing Facility for expansion and new industrialization. Under TERF, Rs 470 billion soft loans was provided.

Listing the main achievements of the Central Bank, he said the economic fundamentals were kept intact, rather strengthened over last two years. Fiscal deficit was significantly reduced whereas in many countries it went up. Similarly, the current deficit was controlled and the balance of payments position improved as the foreign reserves continued to increase.

Over this period, in Pakistan debit –GDP ratio went down by 2.4 percent. Whereas, he continued, in emerging and developed economies it had increased. The foreign exchange rate was made market based and average rate in 2020 remained Rs 161.93 and in 2021 it was Rs 163.29.

SBP Governor said the Central Bank through incentives encouraged savings rate of the country as high saving rate was vital for the country. Due to low savings, the country had to go to the international financial institutions for loan.

Roshan Digital Account was successfully launched by SBP in 2020 and till date three billion dollars were sent by Overseas Pakistanis. And, during last year, dollars 2.6 billion investment was also made by them through this account, which was more than that of other foreign direct investment over this period.

Sindh Governor Imran Ismail also praised Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government’s approach and strategy to handle Covid-19 situation that was appreciated in the world. From day one, Prime Minister Imran Khan had different approach on corona epidemic and was not in favour of lockdowns to save big number of the population from starving.

When the Covid-19 epidemic out-broke, the world started shutting down and there was huge pressure on our government as well to go for shutdowns, but Imran Khan and his team adopted different approach ensuring safety of the people’s life and livelihood.

He also praised SBP Governor Dr. Reza Baqir for better functioning of the Central Bank. Over last couple of years, it took various important steps/initiatives particularly for dealing with covid situation.

He regretted that the past the corrupt governments severely harmed the country’s economy. Now, he said, Imran Khan and his team were aggressively fighting on it.

“We are also trying to bring reforms in institutions including FBR to ensure corruption free and business friendly environment,” he said adding that the government’s performance was very remarkable and the credit went to Prime Minister Imran Khan.

He criticized the opposition political parties for their negative politics and pointed out that the protests and marches did damage the economy, mainly the stock exchange.

Imran Ismail urged on rightly portraying the success stories of businesspersons, financial managers and other professionals instead of always talking about problems and challenges to the country. “As a nation, we should focus on finding way forward,” he concluded.

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