Imran govt to come up with ‘long-term’ economic plan on Saturday


–Cabinet approves Rs100bn ‘Kamyab Jawan Program’ to economically empower youth

–Info minister tells Opp to move court if it feels that NAB is abusing its powers


ISLAMABAD: Amid economic crunch that has hit the country hard, Prime Minister’s Adviser on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh will unveil a long term economic plan on Saturday, PM’s Special Assistant on Media Affairs Firdous Ashiq Awan announced on Tuesday.

She was addressing a press conference after the weekly meeting of the federal cabinet.

She said the cabinet also pondered upon the rupee depreciation against the US dollar and its impact on inflation.

The value of the US dollar touched Rs153.50 in the open market on Tuesday. It has lost more than 5% value over last week in the wake of a $6 billion loan accord with the International Monetary Fund.

The cabinet also approved the decisions of the last meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee, she said, adding that the decisions included ratification of grants to K-Electric to keep Karachi free of load shedding during Ramzan..

The federal cabinet approved ‘Kamyab Jawan Program’ to economically empower youth. She said under the programme, youth can get a loan from 100,000 to five million rupees in two categories.

She said under the first category banks will provide loan up to Rs 500,000 at six per cent mark-up with lending equity of 10 per cent of the amount applied. Under the second category, an applicant can get a loan up to five million rupees at a mark-up of eight per cent and an equity ratio of 20 per cent, she added.

Awan said 25 per cent of the loan will be granted to women to make youth self-employed to overcome inflation and joblessness.

She said a regulatory mechanism had been planned to supplement the efforts of provinces in education sector.

Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mehmood briefed the cabinet about the plan to increase literacy rate and provide vocational training and skills to students.

She said the minister would also brief media about the contours of the education policy focused on provision of quality education, uniform curriculum and reforms. Spread of education would help in tackling challenges facing the country, she remarked.

Awan said that Prime Minister Imran Khan was committed to bringing the economy out of crisis with the strength of the people.

The PM’s special assistant said that rather than threatening the National Accountability Bureau, opposition parties should cooperate with the anti-corruption watchdog’s ongoing investigations.

“Playing hide and seek with NAB will not help you [opposition],” she said. “If NAB has transgressed its jurisdiction the opposition should approach the court.”

The statement came as a rebuttal to PML-N’s Senior Vice President Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s press briefing earlier in the day, who accused NAB of victimisation, saying those who wanted to save their skin should join the government ranks.

Maintaining that she was not a spokesperson of the anti-graft body, Firdous asked NAB to clarify the allegations leveled against it by opposition parties.

NAB, she added, was an independent institution working under the constitution, and the government had no influence over its workings.