IMF mission chief sees signs of recovery in Pakistan’s economy

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Zubair Qureshi

Islamabad

Federal Minister for Planning, Development & Reform Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar has said that despite budget constraints, the incumbent government is allocating additional resources for socio-economic uplift of deprived areas through regional equalization programme.
He stated that focus is being paid on enhancing productivity by investing more in knowledge economy, education, water resources and correcting transmission lags.
The Federal Minister said this while talking to visiting International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission Chief Ernesto Ramirez Rigo who along-with a delegation called on here Friday.
Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Mohammad Jehanzeb Khan, Secretary Planning Zafar Hasan and senior officials of the Ministry were also present in the meeting.
The minister thanked the IMF for reinforcing need for higher public sector development spending in providing stimulus to the economic growth. He also briefed the mission about the contours of development budget and mentioned that focus of the development outlay is early completion of on-going projects.
He said that government is under obligation under Water Policy to allocate 10% of resources under PSDP for water sector for enhancing water storage capacity. The government is trying to leverage private sector resources to complement development needs of the country.The Minister highlighted the government’s efforts to create more value through SEZs, better social sector outcome through investment in key social sectors and an effective social protection program. The IMF Mission Chief Ernesto Ramirez Rigo expressed optimism over Pakistan economy’s future prospects by highlighting early signs of recovery as more machinery is being imported which in itself reflects greater confidence in investment prospects in the country. He also highlighted the increase in exports in quantum terms.
Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Planning and Development Khusro Bakhtiar on Friday termed the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project as ‘an important pillar’ of the economic structure of Pakistan.
Khusro Bakhtiar, in his latest statement, said that the federal government is taking the mega economic project to its new height as it is an important pillar of the country’s economic structure. “ML-1 project will make the Pakistan Railways compatible with the modern requirements. We will complete CPEC’s western route from Islamabad to Quetta, whereas, the development work on Gwadar airport is continued in full pace. The government is taking solid steps for meeting energy requirements.”
“In the next three years, the authorities will complete the construction of Islamabad-Quetta Motorway and Gwadar master plan will be filed on November 6.” “Special plans are being considered for the promotion of tourism in Pakistan.” He further said that the government will complete the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) project on a priority basis. He added that the projects initiated for the development of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) and Balochistan are also among the priorities of present government.
The minister said that a joint forum has been constituted by Pakistan and China for the enhancement of the industrial sector which would be made functional soon.