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PM says inflation not because of his government

Our Correspondent
Thursday, Jan 20, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Wednesday admitted that the situation is bad and there is inflation but it is not because of his government and he ‘blamed’ three times increase in Pakistan’s imports and hike in commodities prices globally, having impacted rates in the country as well.

This increase in imports, he explained, put pressure on the rupee and the government had to devalue it while there was an impact of COVID too. However, he emphasised that at the same time, there had been wealth creation, owing to the government’s hard work of three years, as there is record sale of motor bikes, cars and mobile phones. He again said, “I admit there is no doubt, it is obvious; this is a difficult time but look at how much the world faced difficulties and what is the situation in Pakistan”.

The prime minister was addressing the launching ceremony of the National Small and Medium Enterprises Policy 2021 here. He said at first, the government controlled price hike through devaluation and then both the people and economy was saved in the backdrop of coronavirus and then again commodities’ prices went up, as there was another wave of inflation globally.

Premier described how the government handled the country while facing unprecedented challenges in 2018 and onwards, and saved the country from going bankrupt and then launched reforms, which resulted in record exports, wealth increased, there were record remittances through banking channels for the overseas Pakistanis showed more trust in the incumbent government.

Prime Minister also said that the tax collection had reached Rs6000 billion, which would surpass Rs8000 billion at the completion of PTI government’s five years. He recalled before coming into power, he had promised to collect Rs8000 billion tax and people used to laugh at this.

Prime Minister made it clear that in the given situation, the economy would not be shut rather SOPs would be followed. He regretted that out of 220 million Pakistanis, only 2 million paid taxes but the government was thrashing out a comprehensive plan for collection of taxes, expanding the tax net. “We are bringing automation, track and trace system, as big people are evading sales tax, they are making software together with NADRA, it cannot be that in a country of 220 million, only 2 million pay taxes, no country can run like this but we will achieve this goal,” he said.

PM Imran said that ‘we are ashamed that the world has such a low export of 220 million people, Singapore with a population of 5 million and the exports of such a small country is 300 billion dollars, when we got the government exports were 24 billion’.

Prime Minister said that ‘now we have to focus on exports and everyone including the government will go to one side that we have to create wealth and SMEs have a big role to play in this’. He said that there are industries in Karachi and Faisalabad but there are small and medium industries in Gujranwala, Gujrat and Sialkot.

Prime Minister said that rules have been made which have blocked the way of small and medium industries in the past, all kinds of regulations have been brought, sometimes inspections are done but big man can bear it and big businessman does not care because, he has power hut the one, who is new to the business, this becomes an obstacle in his way. However, we have tried to make things easier.

He said that in the days to come this policy will give Pakistan a full idea of how much it will benefit our society, there is no doubt that we will have to solve more and more problems. Prime Minister Imran Khan said that the SME sector was being given incentives and importance, which unfortunately had never been addressed before and the government has created facilities for small and medium businesses.

He said that this sector provides most employment in any country and it plays a major role in increasing wealth but in Pakistan this sector does not contribute as much as it should. He said that banks do not give loans to SMEs and there are other problems and now they have removed the biggest hurdle and created facilities so that they can do business. He said that the government should provide facilities to the youth for encouraging their passion. PM said that if farmers are given incentives then wheat, sugarcane, maize and rice have become record four crops in Pakistan.