Tarin reveals monetary designs for 14 vital areas


ISLAMABAD: With the commitment to not exit the International fund (IMF) programme and instead take it to face-to-face talks in Washington in October, minister of finance Shaukat Tarin on Friday unveiled another short-, medium- and long-term economic programme for 14 key sectors to make sure sustainable growth.

Speaking at a press conference with eight cabinet colleagues and personal sector members of the Economic Advisory Council (EAC), Mr Tarin also said the logjam on the Pakistan Steel Mills had been removed and bidders would be invited during a few days for its formal privatisation process.

He said Pakistan’s planning-based policy had come to an end 20 years ago, leading to repeated boom-and-bust cycles. However, the new plan would set the stage for inclusive and sustainable growth. He said that supported these workable plans along side strategy, every minister would stand before the prime minister on a monthly basis to report progress and be in charge of slippages.

Replying to an issue about economic plans announced by the govt when it came to power three years ago and therefore the promises about review of performance of ministers promised by the prime minister, Mr Tarin said he shouldn’t be made answerable about the result of comparable plans announced by the govt when it came to power three years ago and performance review of ministers.

He said Asad Umar as minister of finance had made an effort during this direction but couldn’t follow up as he removed “but let me assure you we’ve made an idea and that we will implement it and report reach you on a monthly basis”.

He said the Economic Reforms Unit of the Ministry of Finance would coordinate the progress review before the prime minister and therefore the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics would offer experts to help in professional reviews.

Responding to a different question about the timing of the new expansionary moves and if this is able to be deliverable while the govt was in IMF programme or it wanted to quit the programme, he said the govt didn’t have any intention to urge out of the IMF programme. The minister said he had held positive discussions with the IMF on Thursday and agreed to possess discussions on next review by end of next month then “I will hold face-to-face discussions with IMF in Washington” during October 11-17 annual meetings.

Mr Tarin said performance in 14 sectors would be monitored from September and therefore the prime minister would tend briefing about the execution of the plans monthly . “Hence plans don’t focus only on devising strategies but also on ensuring implementation which may be a major separate the past practice,” he said. He said obviously the incumbent government would be ready to implement only short-term actions, a number of which had already been included within the current year’s budget, but it might stage the stage for coming governments to follow.

The broad objectives of the plan include accelerating the general economic process rate from 3pc to 6pc within the next three years without creating pressure after all of payments and by keeping inflationary expectations subdued. It also includes increasing tax to GDP ratio by 1.5 to 2pc annually, attaining target of $30 billion exports by FY 2023-24 and maintaining the momentum in foreign remittances.

The key focus is to get massive employment opportunities over the amount of your time to interact the youth in productive sectors of the economy.

The sectors underlined for driving growth through the platform of the EAC are agriculture, including small farms, micro enterprises, small and medium enterprises, construction, tourism and knowledge technology. this is able to be achieved through coherent, consistent and well-coordinated polices between the federal, provincial governments and therefore the private sector, Mr Tarin said.

Adviser to the PM on Institutional Reforms Dr Ishrat Hussain said the roadmap would ensure export-led growth and strengthen government system because the devolution process under the 18th Amendment and seventh National Finance Commission award had not been completed.

The medium and long-term agenda includes a multi-pronged strategy for institutional reforms within the public sector and therefore the provincial governments will prioritise achieving universal access to quality education, health, access to beverage and sanitation.

Similarly, the federal and provincial governments would enhance specialise in human development and develop physical infrastructure which is lagging behind in far-flung areas. The medium-to-long term planning also includes completion of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects, particularly in agriculture, industrial cooperation, socio-economic development and financial inclusion.

It also includes utilisation of special technology zones, IT parks and incubation and entrepreneurships centres that complement CPEC investments.

In the sphere of power and energy, the long-term planning encompasses implementing Renewable Energy Policy and National Power Policy to achieve the goal of 60 per cent energy generation from non-fossil fuels, including hydro-power generation.

The minister of finance said a positive sentiment had been generated about the economy and this is able to be built upon with the advisory and capacity enhancement role of the EAC to make synergies across different sectors, facilitate active monitoring and pave way for sustained institutional reforms and modernisation of the general public sector.

The plan for resolving the circular debt issue includes reducing the value of electricity generation by flattening the capacity payment curve through restructuring power producers. this may be done through a mixture of re-profiling of project debts and reduction reciprocally on equity and operation and maintenance components of tariffs.

At an equivalent time, steps are going to be taken to spice up demand for grid electricity by incentivising captive-to-grid shift and integration of NTDC-KE networks. it’ll also include replacing cross-subsidies with direct subsidies, lowering tariffs for top consumption categories, targeting price deregulation and improving governance through engagement with the private sector.

A multi-faceted and multi-dimensional price stability strategy are going to be that farmers are going to be offered price guarantees and confirmed off takes to guard them from exploitation at the hands of wholesalers and middleman.

Investment through public-private partnership are going to be invited to develop multi-purpose storage facilities for maintaining strategic reserves. Moreover, small markets are going to be built on the brink of production clusters and air transportation might be utilised to offer farmers direct access to the far-flung domestic markets. this may ensure price stability in items of daily use.

Mohammad Ali Tabba said 10 new sectors had been identified which might generate $1bn exports in short-term to assist take exports to $40-50bn.

Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam, Minister for Industries Khusro Bakhtiar, Adviser to the PM on Commerce Abdul Razaq Dawood, Sultan Ali Allana, Arif Habib and Salim Raza also spoke at the news conference .

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