Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar here on Thursday said that the government was determined for promoting social welfare, poverty alleviation and implement targeted social safety net programs to support vulnerable segments of the society.
Addressing the ‘Islamabad Security Dialogue-2023,’ organized by the National Security Division and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he said the government had also initiated cash transfer program for health and education sectors to strengthen the social safety net.
The minister said that all these measures aimed at to develop and creating more inclusive and equitable society where everyone had an opportunity to thrive, adding that in this regard the allocation for Benazir Income Support Program was enhanced to Rs 400 billion with 25 percent increase in stipends.
Besides, the government had also initiated youth skill development program in order to encourage the entrepreneurship skills among the youth to get the maximum dividend of large bulge of youth as well as to enhance employment opportunities, he added.
He said that government had also started short, medium and long term programs for all the sectors of national economy in order to enhance the competitiveness of national economy to strengthen local footprints in regional and global economies.
The minister said that incumbent government had inherited a bleak economy, which was the result of incompetence and bad governance of last government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf that also declined the international commitments and pushed the country into a serious economic positions.
Due to poor economic polices of the last government, he said that trade deficit swelled to $ 39.7 billion in fiscal year 2022, adding that current account deficit was recorded at $17.4 billion, whereas foreign direct investment plunged to $1.9 billion.
On fiscal side, the minister informed that the deficit was recorded at 17.9 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), whereas during the period 2018-22 huge amount was borrowed and the circular debt grew to Rs 2,446 billion and public sector debt ballooned from Rs 25 trillion to Rs 44.5 trillion.
Besides, the minister said that the unprecedented floods of 2022 affected all sectors of the national economy and inflicted losses to the tune of over $31 billion, adding that the United Nation Agencies and other development partners including Asian Development Bank and European Union estimated that Pakistan would require about $16.3 billion for reconstruction and rehabilitation.
Under such circumstances when the challenges like high inflation, increasing trend of commodity in global markets and shrinking fiscal space, the government has devised future road map to protect the masses form tough economic challenges.
Besides, he said that government had banned import of luxury items and tightened the monetary policy to control rising inflation, adding that it was also striving to attract investment in the country with economic diplomacy to develop national economy and strengthen relation with the other countries.—APP