Economic Growth Rate Augurs Well For Country's Progress: PM

Economic growth rate augurs well for country's progress: PM

ISLAMABAD, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 31st May, 2021 ) :Prime Minister Imran Khan Sunday said the country's projected growth rate at above 4 per cent would spur economic activities, creating job opportunities as well as reducing inflation. Responding to public queries during a live tv programme 'Aapka Wazir-e-Azam Aap Kai Sath', he said the economic growth rate had baffled his political opponents, who wanted the government to fail in meeting the economic challenges left behind by the successive governments. Imran Khan exemplified that the leadership in Malaysia, South Korea and China uplifted their deteriorated economies. In Pakistan, the political governments after 1988 weakened the institutions to loot public money. First they (previous leaders) damaged the country by committing corruption and now hurting it to protect the looted money, he added.

He said had the opposition been sincere with the country, they should be happy over economic turnaround achieved by the incumbent government.

He said after 2016, the country had the lowest debt burden as now the government was returning the foreign debt. His government inherited 18.2% current account deficit and for the first time, it went surplus, which, he said, was a quality growth.

Explaining further as how the government achieved 4% GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth, Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar said the National Accounts Committee worked as per the United Nations' standardized systems and fed by 26 government agencies.

He said the GDP growth was backed by 9% growth in the industrial sector, record cement, fertilizer, automobile, bikes and urea sale, 8.5% growth in the housing sector, and bumper crops of wheat, sugarcane and others. He was confident to say that the growth would touch 4.3 or 4.4% by end of the last quarter.

Asked how the government would bring down the inflation, the prime minister said it was the one thing, which had made him sleepless as the price hike of ghee, sugar and flour put extra burden on the poor people.

He assured the nation that the government was trying to enhance agricultural produce to reduce eatables prices. Some 65% of the country's farmers owning less than five acres of land, were being given Kisan Card to provide fertilizers and other inputs on subsidized rates.

Moreover, he said, the workers would also be trained to guide the farmers about the new agricultural techniques to help them achieve enhanced production."Even if we enhance wheat crop by 10%, the country will have the surplus crop," he added.

The prime minister said the government's farmer-to-market initiative would also help bring down the eatables' prices.

He said from June 2020 to May 2021, oil prices were doubled in the world, but the government just passed on 11.18 % impact. Similarly, the raised the palm oil prices by 27 % against 70% rise and those of Urea by 16% against 74% price hike in the international market.

The prime minister said his government had inherited historic problems, with current account deficit and burden of loans.How they had steered the boat out of the difficulties was a crucial phase, he added. "We have to go through these ordeals. I am pleased over the success of 4 per cent growth rate, which, according to experts, is estimated to further increase." Imran Khan said there were two problems, price hike and unemployment, but when the wheel of economy moved on and the growth rate increased, the people would get employment, reducing their poverty. The prime minister said record Rs 4,143 billion tax collection by the Federal board of Revenue (FBR) was a historic achievement. He said the automation system would be fully introduced. In the past, it was resisted by the people taking benefits from the corrupt regime, as they did not want it to happen. The prime minister said the track and trace mechanism would also help the system to function smoothly, besides enhancing the tax collection. In order to ensure future food security, the prime minister said the government was taking measures to produce DAP, palm oil and olive oil locally as the country had immense potential to meet its domestics needs as well as for exports.

He told another questioner that the previous regimes could not realize the potential of olive and avocado in the country. However, his government had started massive olive plantation to bring about an olive revolution.

He also assured that the government would promote new crops taking advantage of 12 climatic zones in the country.

In the past, he regretted, no focus was made on agriculture and the condition of farmers. The developed countries were not blessed with such resources, but due to research and dedication, they excelled in the agriculture sector. Imran Khan said the government had enacted a law to ensure payment to the sugarcane farmers promptly. For the first time in the country's history, the farmers got full and timely payment for their produce.

The country, he added, also witnessed record agri-yields in the current year as the wheat produce increased by 8. 1%, rice 13.6% and sugarcane 22%. "This is just a beginning. They will bring technology with upgraded seeds to give further boost to this sector," he expressed his resolve. The prime minister further elaborated that in the past, there was discrepancy in the payments made to the farmers and the middle man. On the Chinese model, they would introduce a virtual market with the help of information technology, he added. He said about 900 storage facilities would be set up, besides enhancing the mode of transportation. Food processing units would also be set up and the government would extend loans in that regard. The prime minister said life was a lesson full of ups and downs, and no one aspired to rise in life without overcoming different challenges."The one, who succumbs to difficulties in life, fails," he added. Referring to his cricket career, he said it was based upon continuous struggle and competition. During the coronavirus pandemic, their successful strategy saved public lives and their livelihood, he added."Insha'Allah, the country will witness further progress," he said. About the economic issues, he said the opposition parties knew the problems, but they wanted to get an NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance) and tried to create hurdles and blackmail the government. About normalization of trade ties with India, the prime minister said from day one, he tried to improve the bilateral relations, but now after India's illegal and unilateral steps of August 5, 2019 in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), it would not happen.

Under such situation, he added, it would amount to treachery with the people of Kashmir. Around 100,000 Kashmiris had sacrificed their lives. Restoring trade with India was unthinkable unless they reverses their August 5 (2019) illegal steps.

About the Palestine issue, the prime minister the situation was similar to what was happening in the IIOJK. Kashmiris and Palestinians were facing illegal settlements, aimed at changing the demography with continuation of system of oppression. He said only the two-state solution was a step forward. Even in the United States and West people were raising their voicesagainstinjustice with the Palestinian people. To a query, the prime minister said the government would construct 10 dams to overcome the looming threat of water scarcity and global warming. He regretted that water reservoirs should have been constructed some 50 years back. Along with the construction of dams, he said, atelemetry system would be made fully functional to ensure just water distribution among the provinces.

Due to theft, he said, the water did not reach to the weak people. The government was mulling over a system to ensure water supply to the tail end, he added. He observed that it was the Sindh government's responsibility to ensure water supply to the tail end and protect interests of the weak growers. About the Rawalpindi Ring Road project, the prime minister said it was vital for addressing the traffic issues in the city. He said someone had provided him information about the commission of wrongdoings in the project. Upon inquiry, it was surfaced that the road's alignment was changed to benefit the powerful. After two weeks a complete inquiry report would be submitted to him and appropriate action would be initiated against the responsible, he added. The prime minister, to another question, said a democratic leader came through a process of struggle. He said the opposition parties would not succeed because of their vested motives instead of public centered objectives. They wanted to blackmail the government on the basis of their corruption cases. For the last 30 years, they had been ruling the country. "The people, who had been roaming on bicycles, are now living in palatial houses in London where even a British premier cannot afford to think of such luxury," he added. He said Pakistan had been on the right path with all economic indicators showing positive signs. The prime minister stressed upon proper use of natural resources for development of the agriculture sector. About the health cards facility, Imran Khan said the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government was providing free treatment facility of up to Rs 1 million to each family in the province whereas by the end of year, all the residents in Punjab province would also get the facility. The health card, he said, was a complete health system. The private sector would be encouraged to come forward in setting up health facilities. In the upcoming budget, they would get the facility of importing duty free equipment. Besides, they would be offered government-owned lands at affordable prices to establish health facilities, he added. The prime minister, to a question, said the most difficult thing was to reform an institution, which had been corrupted when compared with establishment of a new one. About the Punjab police reforms, Imran Khan said a former Inspector General of Punjab Police late Abbas' had furnished a report during 1993, which indicated that about 25,000 inductions into police were made after taking bribes, some of them were hardened criminals. He observed that in the past, the police force was misused for carrying out illegal acts, but now they were working to reform the force and expressed the confidence that the Punjab police would be modelled on the KP police. Responding to an expatriate caller, the prime minister said anyone whose properties were under illegal occupation, could register their complaints at the Pakistan Citizen Portal or contact on the relevant telephone numbers given on its website. He said all the land record would be soon computerized in Punjab and KP provinces so that no one could encroach over or occupy the lands. The prime minister referred toRiasat-e-Madina, where the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) changed character of his people. The Muslims, he said, rose on the basis of strength of their character and became world leaders. The People embraced islam not under any duress but after getting inspired form their moral character, he added. Two families in Pakistan ruled the country and plundered it, he said, adding it had always been a corrupt leadership, which ravaged morality of a nation and destroyed a country. Wars did not destroy countries but it was the lack of morality which damaged a nation, he further observed. The prime minister said a committee headed by former justice Shaikh Azmat Saeed would help in regulating the mushrooming housing societies in the country. As a widow called for the prime minister's help to resolve a dispute involving payment of dues against her house (now recovered from illegal occupation) in a housing society in Lahore, the prime minister assured her of the government's support to resolve the matter.

He said the powerful mafias always wanted to live above law, which could challenge the survival of any country. All the civilized nations were identical of having rule of law, justice system and no room for nepotism.

"The battle for which I went into politics was to ensure rule of law and make the powerful mafias accountable. I assure you, whether I am in power or not, I will fight for it. We are ready to sit with judiciary to bring about judicial reforms," he remarked.

The prime minister said the National Accountability Bureau and other institutions had also been working prior to the Pakistan Tehreek--e-Insaf (PTI) government but there was hell of difference in their performance when the incumbent government allowed them to work independently.

He said since its creation till 2017, NAB recovered Rs 290 billion but during the two years of PTI government, they recovered Rs 484 billion. Similarly, the Punjab Anti-Corruption Department recovered Rs 2.6 billion in 10 years of the PML-N 9Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz) government and retrieved land worth Rs 218 billion in just previous two and a half years.

"This is the battle to bring the powerful under law. This is Jihad. We are fighting to recover money from the powerful. Earlier, they never faced jail but this time they are being made accountable," the prime minister said.

He said once the powerful mafias and looters of public money were made accountable before law, the petty criminals would automatically mend their ways getting scared of accountability.

Even after concluding the programme, it was decided to keep the telephone lines open for another half an hour to be noted by the Prime Minister's staff and resolve the issues accordingly, in order to facilitate maximum number of people.