Lauds Prime Minister’s efforts
Islamabad—Director of International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde, who is on her first ever visit to Pakistan congratulated Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on successfully completing the IMF programme, saying the completion reflected positively on the country and viewed as a symbol of credibility and stability. “It is a fantastic step in your journey that you have achieved a better and solid economic position in a brief period of two years,” the IMF chief told the Prime Minister during a meeting here on Monday. Lagarde, who is on her first visit to Pakistan said she was very pleased to be here. She lauded the Prime Minister for steering the country out of multiple challenges and achieving macroeconomic stability in a short period of time. “Pakistan is now in a better fiscal position and certainly out of economic crisis,” she said, according to the statement. Lagarde said that Pakistan’s economic growth had gradually increased, fiscal deficit had reduced while inflation had continuously declined in the country. “She also appreciated the country’s strengthened social safety nets and tax policy and administration reforms,” the statement mentioned. Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif appreciated IMF’s assistance for Pakistan’s economic recovery and macroeconomic stability, saying the government had achieved economic stability by pursuing a comprehensive reforms agenda. He said the tireless efforts of the government’s economic team had turned around the Pakistani economy in a short span of three years. “We are successfully delivering on the major challenges of terrorism, economy and power shortages that we inherited from the previous governments’, the Prime Minister added. “We have dismantled the terrorists’ networks and even presently 200,000 troops are deployed in the Northern part of our country to completely eliminate the menace of terrorism from our country,” he said. The Prime Minister said more than 24,000 precious human lives had been lost, about 50,000 wounded while the economy suffered a loss of $100 billion in war against terrorism. He said though the situation was under control, but the armed forces were still working hard to dismantle the remaining hideouts of terrorists from the country. On relations with Afghanistan, the Prime Minister emphasized that Pakistan was sincere in helping to bring stability to Afghanistan which is also in the interest of Pakistan. “Peace and stability and Afghanistan would ensure peace in Pakistan and the region as well,” the Prime Minister added. The Prime Minister said better management of the border with Afghanistan was also proactively pursued by Pakistan to safeguard the porous border. He said his government’s ongoing endeavours included addressing energy shortfall at the earliest and improving the country’s infrastructure and communication networks. Nawaz Sharif said his government was focused on increasing the economic growth and then take it to the next level by ensuring the trickledown effect of the economic gains achieved by our government. “We want to further reduce our expenditures, increase our exports and lower down the cost of production for our industrial and agriculture sectors,” stressed the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister said his government was setting up power projects in hydel, coal, LNG and would be able to eliminate the power shortages from the country by the year 2018. He said there was no load-shedding for the industrial sector and the focus is on producing cheaper and affordable electricity. “We are committed to providing social protection to the poor and vulnerable people of our society for which our government has increased the budgetary allocation to BISP from Rs 40 to Rs 120 billion in the last three years. The number of poor families covered under this programme has increased from 3 million to 5.6 million families,” the prime minister said.