Foremost priority to make ppl economically self-reliant: Imran Khan

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday said "Besides extending financial assistance to the downtrodden segments of the society, the government’s foremost priority is to make the people economically self-reliant,” he added In an informal briefing, an adviser to the prime minister told media persons that the government could not diminish inflation but it was taking steps to improve purchasing power of common man. “We cannot bring down the prices to their previous place, but we can improve purchasing power of the people so that inflation may not affect them,” he said.

Presiding over a meeting of Kamyab Pakistan Programme, he cited the examples of China and India and said unlike India which had failed, China had successfully steered millions of people out of poverty during the last 30 years.

Prime Minister Khan said the government had taken a number of steps to improve purchasing power of people as a hefty amount Rs1.1 trillion had been given to the farmers and agriculture sector in the form of subsidies that was benefitting 70 per cent population of the country living in rural areas.

The meeting was attended by Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, Special Assistants to the PM Waqar Masood and Usman Dar, Naya Pakistan Housing Authority chairman retired Lt Gen Anwar Ali Haider, Habib Bank chairman Sultan Ali Alana, Punjab Bank president Zafar Masood and senior officials concerned and stakeholders.

The meeting was briefed about the Kamyab Business, Kamyab Kissan and Kamyab Hunarmand programmes and whole-sale lending for low-cost housing schemes under Kamyab Pakistan Housing project in Kamyab Pakistan Programme.

On the instructions of the prime minister, the government has brought all youth-related programme under the umbrella of Kamyab Pakistan Programme.

The meeting was told that Kamyab Pakistan Programme would play an important role in enhancing economic activities in the country and making people self-dependent in terms of employment.

Under the programme, applicants will be provided business, low-cost housing and agricultural loans at large scale, which will not only provide job opportunities but, besides promoting business activities, will also help alleviate poverty, boost GDP growth and strengthen banking sector.

Meanwhile, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said in a statement that all high-frequency data showed improvement in the economy and growth rate was being estimated at about 3.94 per cent.

He said the PTI government inherited an elevated level of debt servicing of over $10 billion per year caused mainly due to enhanced external borrowing ($49.76bn), particularly short-term and expensive commercial loans ($17bn) by the PML-N government.

During the current fiscal year, the government had to repay about $10.36bn on account of external loans, including principal and interest payments, while expected inflows were estimated at $14.37bn, he added.

“During the first 10-months of FY2020-21, the government has repaid $7.52bn, including $6.31bn as principal and $1.21bn as interest payments. In order to discharge its various obligations, the government borrowed $10.5bn as programme and project loans in the same period. Thus, the net inflow of external loans is $2.98bn. In addition, the government also repaid $2bn to Saudi Arabia during the current fiscal. Hence, the actual net inflows further decreased to $0.98 billion only,” the minister said.

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