Finance Minister Asad Umer has said that bolstering exports, reducing fiscal and trade deficit and generating job opportunities for the youth are the priorities of the government to steer the country out of current economic crisis.
He was speaking in the national assembly today on the economic situation of the country.
The Finance Minister pointed out that short term stabilization has been achieved as a result of some steps in the past two months. He said the stock markets are now witnessing stabilization. The stock market raised by five thousand points in the last few days. He was of the view that the stock market had started witnessing positive trends even before the announcement of Saudi relief package.
The Finance Minister said that the government is seeking financial assistance from the friendly countries in order to get the IMF program at better terms.
Asad Umer said Saudi Arabia has agreed to deposit three billion dollars with State Bank of Pakistan for a period of one year while the friendly country will provide nine billion dollars of oil on deferred payment for a period of three years.
The Finance Minister said the prime minister is now visiting China and our aim is to take the China Pakistan Economic Corridor Project to the next phase of the establishment of special economic zones. He said a bilateral trade framework is being prepared to reduce the deficit of trade with China. He said China is fully supporting us in this endeavor. He said joint ventures between Pakistani and Chinese companies in the SEZs will also help Pakistan cut its overall trade deficit.
The Finance Minister said a coordinated plan is being prepared to provide job opportunities to the youth which are an asset to the nation. He said only the SME sector will provide two million jobs to the youth in the next five years and this will be done by ensuring better access to finances.
Alluding to the economic crisis faced by the country, the finance minister said we want to make the next IMF program the last one for the country and expressed the confidence that the opposition parties will give concrete suggestions to achieve that goal.
Referring to the steps taken to bolster the exports, the Finance Minister said that we reduced the prices of both gas and power for the export industry. Similarly, the poor segments of the society were also protected against the increase in the prices of the utilities. He said we also reduced taxes on the export industry in the supplementary budget and we desire to further cut them.