PTI Government: Blessing or damnation? | By Hassan Azam Shibbli


PTI Government: Blessing or damnation?

Gohar Ejaz (Patron in Chief) of APTMA maintains that with this support 100 new textile units will start coming on line from January 2022 onwards that will create one million new jobs and also push the textile exports to $ 21 and 27 billion by June 2022 and 2023.

The government is paying great attention to boost unconventional exports where IT is a high priority.

This sector has been given lucrative incentives that have started paying off. It is heartening to note that in the first three months of this fiscal year, IT exports have surged to $ 1.4 B against last year’s total exports of around $2 B. IT exports have the potential to hit the $6 B mark in the next 2-3 years that will help reduce trade imbalance significantly.

This government for the very first time enacted foreclosure laws, a wonderful effort that went unnoticed.

A new scheme viz Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme was launched where SBP is giving mandatory targets to commercial banks to provide soft-term loans to low and middle income groups to build/purchase their own houses. As per latest available statistics, banks have already sanctioned loans worth Rs. 220B where Rs.22B stand disbursed.

The government, unlike its predecessors, is discouraging any politically-motivated mega projects through foreign borrowing. It has very rightly started work on three different dams that will ensure cheap electricity and more water for irrigation besides creating thousands of new jobs.

The government has launched Roshan Digital Accounts for overseas Pakistanis and successfully mobilized $ 2.7 billion by end October 2021 that along with workers’ remittances of over $10 billion received in the first four months of the current fiscal year is providing support to check CAD and depleting exchange reserves.

Unfortunately the government of Imran Khan is unable to project above listed achievements proactively. The government as a tired and disgruntled boxer is reeling on the ropes and its opponents are throwing heavy punches in the name of bad governance and inflation.

The government has failed to capitalize on some of its real good socio-economic initiatives like health cards, Ehsas Programme, 35% increase in the salary of government employees and a subsidy worth billions of rupees on essential food items through Utility Stores.

The government is now all set to provide a Rs. 130 billion targeted subsidy that will benefit 130 M people.

The government, despite giving firm assurance to the IMF, is hesitant to raise power tariff and also keeping the petrol and gas prices under check by reducing sales tax and petroleum levy just to muster political support.

Imran Khan, like a true leader, should have the courage to take the nation in confidence and implement the IMF program in letter and spirit that will ultimately bring economic stability.

The government needs to work on some out of box solutions to ensure speedy relief to poverty stricken people.

It’s high time to impose a one- time poverty reduction tax on all those who are getting huge benefits from his business friendly policies and use it for providing subsidies to the needy people.

The corporate sector and all other beneficiaries must rise to the occasion and support a government that strongly believes in friendly business policies and wealth creation.

The country after years of wilderness is back on the growth track. However, to sustain this growth trajectory all stakeholders are required to exercise restraint and avoid misleading poor and needy people through tall and unrealistic claims.—Concluded

— The writer is Independent Financial Analyst, former Regional Chief of Operations — HBL.

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