Positive economic indicators

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ADDRESSING a ceremony on Thursday to mark success of the Government’s initiative of Roshan Digital Account (which crossed the mark of $500 million), Prime Minister Imran Khan took solace in the fact that the country’s economic indicators are on a positive trajectory despite many challenges, including that of the COVID-19.

He expressed pleasure over the record increase in the country’s exports at a time when the economies around the world were badly affected by the breakout of pandemic adding that our exports have been more than our competitors, including India and Bangladesh.

There is no doubt that the Government’s handling of the situation arising out of Covid-19 has helped the country a lot in terms of economic activities, mitigating some of the woes of the masses and this fact has been acknowledged repeatedly by members of the international community and multilateral donors.

The increase in exports despite frequent upward revision of prices of POL products and electricity/gas tariffs is also reflective of the hard work done by the officials concerned and the business community. The situation can improve further provided the Government reviews its policy of increasing the cost of production which renders our exports uncompetitive.

The Prime Minister has vowed to bring about an industrial revolution and this dream can become a reality in the shortest possible time if the pace of setting up of new economic zones under the umbrella of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is accelerated as Chinese are eager to invest heavily in these zones.

This is borne out by  Zhang Baozhong, Chairman of China Overseas Ports Holding Company – the firm that operates Gwadar Port – who said recently that the first phase of the special economic zone under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor has been completed in which 43 Chinese companies are going to invest while 200 more firms have been registered for the purpose.

According to him, besides infrastructure and energy projects, various industries, including textiles, chemicals, automobiles and mobiles, would be set up in the Gwadar industrial zone, which will create more employment opportunities.

Overseas Pakistanis, who have remitted record amounts during the last few months, also have the potential to play a significant role in promoting economic activities in the country.

The Government acted wisely by launching the initiative of Roshan Digital Account, which is paying dividends as 88,000 accounts in 97 countries have been opened so far and the trend shows it would attract more money from more overseas Pakistanis.

A positive message about the economy of the country could motivate them to invest their savings on profitable ventures back home.  Focus on small and medium industries, IT and telecom and housing could also make a difference and the Government should announce incentives for these sectors in the coming budget.

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