Economy improving yet . . .


ECONOMIC performance during first quarter of ongoing fiscal year was disclosed at a news conference in Federal
Capital on Saturday by Adviser on Finance Hafeez Sheikh and FBR Chairman Shabbar Zaidi who stated that difficult decisions taken by the government have started showing positive results with fiscal and trade deficits brought under control and exchange rate, foreign exchange reserves and stock market remain at stable positions.
Government’s economic team led by Hafeez Sheikh indeed deserves appreciation for taking unpopular and tough decisions to save the country from default and introducing economic reforms to steer the economy towards stability. It certainly is first time that serious and focused reforms are being introduced in the FBR that led to growth of sixteen percent in revenue in the first three months of current fiscal year. The textile industry is also appreciative of government for giving export industry subsidy in gas and electricity. Nonetheless, still a lot more needs to be done to achieve real high growth rate on sustainable basis and to address economic woes of the people who have been hit hard by substantial price hike. Government focus is very much on squeezing imports and enhancing exports yet this objective can be achieved in real terms by brining innovation and value addition in our products. For this we seriously need to support the industry especially SMEs.
It should be a matter of serious concern for government that all segments of auto sector faced demand contraction during the first quarter of this fiscal year with car sales plunging by 39.4 per cent to 31,107 units compared to 51,221 units in the same period last year. A few years back some new foreign companies were showing great interest in auto industry of Pakistan because of its business friendly auto policy. However over last one year, major Japanese auto companies in the country have reported decline in sales. This indeed will discourage new entrants in Pakistani market. Government should sit with auto industry and address their concerns while protecting interests of consumers. Government must undertake development projects in various sectors in order to generate sufficient economic activity that provides jobs to people. Without any delay, the government should practically launch work on its flagship mega housing programme as this project alone has the capacity to push up growth rate by benefiting those associated with construction sector. People have pinned great expectations with incumbent government and it must speed up implementation of its policies so that people could really feel change in their lives promised to them by the PTI before general elections.