Economy stabled, govt to focus on jobs now, says PM Imran


ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday said that the PTI government’s economic team had “stabilised the economy” and the next step is to create job opportunities and facilitate investors.

Speaking at Sino-Pak Tire Manufacturing Joint Venture signing ceremony, the prime minister said that the government’s “next challenge” was to provide jobs to the people and, in order to create employment opportunities, the country needs investors to invest money.

“As investments increase […] and people get jobs, we believe that our economy’s growth rate will be higher than [what has been] predicted,” he told attendees. The prime minister said that the government was focusing on the development of the construction sector and was also making efforts to facilitate foreign investors.

He recalled that Pakistan had climbed 28 spots on the World Bank’s ease of doing business index.

“This is now a daily struggle for my office, Board of Investment and Ministry of Commerce that we increase our exports and bring in investors in order to [improve] our country.”

Lauding the joint venture between automobile firms in Pakistan and China, Prime Minister Imran said that he was happy that tyres, which were previously being smuggled, will now be manufactured in the country, increasing exports.

“Our foreign exchange will increase with the export of goods,” he said. “The biggest crisis we keep facing is that our current account deficit [keeps increasing].

“Rupee is pressurised due to [current account] deficit and when the [value] of rupee falls, inflation rises,” he said.

“Our policy now is to focus on [increasing] exports. And our exports are increasing by the grace of God and we have reduced imports in order to reduce current account deficit.”

He said that the economy was moving in the “right direction”, adding that his administration was focusing on creating job opportunities for people and facilitating investors.

The prime minister said that relations between China and Pakistan were “better than ever before” and Beijing’s top leadership was taking an interest in initiating joint ventures. Therefore, the prime minister said, it was imperative that the government “makes it easier for [Chinese companies] to enter [Pakistani] market”.

“I congratulate my economic team for stabilising the rupee. We are not spending our foreign exchange in order to [artificially] stabilise the rupee. It is now being valued at its market rate and over the past three months, it has gained [value].

“This is a very good sign because it means that the market’s sentiment is now positive. The market believes that Pakistan’s economy is now stable and will grow. This is also being reflected by the stock exchange.”

Shortly before the prime minister made the remarks, the Pakistan Stock Exchange had closed on a positive note at 400 points at lunchtime.

The premier said that Pakistan’s progress had also been endorsed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank.

In a meeting with the government team last week, the IMF delegation had acknowledged that Pakistan had achieved all targets set for September.