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August 5, 2020

Cabinet told: Economy recovering from virus effects

Top Story

August 5, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet was told on Tuesday that there was a positive trend of recovery in the economic process, affected by the coronavirus, and the financial indicators were showing improvement.

In terms of investment, foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country increased by $3 billion, and has seen an increase of 7%. The cabinet was informed that out of Rs701 billion, allocated for Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP), Rs586 billion has been spent so far which will improve the economic activities.

The cabinet expressed satisfaction over significant reduction in current account deficit and increase in remittances as a result of government policies. The forum was told that the number of state-owned enterprises had dropped from 441 to 324 since the reorganisation of the federal government.

The cabinet, which met here with Prime Minister Imran Khan in the chair, was informed that the posts in various institutions, lying vacant for more than a year, had been eliminated. As a result, 71,000 posts had been abolished.

The cabinet approved renaming of Kashmir Highway as Srinagar Highway.

The cabinet was also briefed about the progress made with regard to civil service reforms. Dr Ishrat Hussain, advisor on institutional reforms, presented a progress report on the reform process in government institutions.

Explaining reforms in the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), he said in the light of the vision of the incumbent government during this period, legal reforms had been introduced in the FBR, by the World Bank to increase revenue and simplify the system. The programme has been approved and the FBR automation was under way, a suitable candidate had been selected for the post of chief information officer.

The cabinet was informed that the sales tax and withholding tax system had been simplified. The system has been simplified with regard to business refunds for exports. For the first time in the history of the country, the tariff system has been taken out of the FBR and handed over to the Tariff Commission.

Likewise, steps for rehabilitation, automation of SECP, reform process regarding Auditor General, steps taken to facilitate business (Ease of doing business) were also presented in detail.

The cabinet was also briefed on the progress made in the ongoing reforms in Railways, Waqf Property and Civil Aviation Authority. The cabinet congratulated Dr Faisal Sultan on his appointment as special assistant on health.

The cabinet was informed that in July 2020, Pakistan’s exports increased by 5.8% as compared to the previous year 2019. Due to the coronavirus, the country’s exports fell by 6% in June, 34% in May and 57% in April.

As a result of the government’s efforts, there has been a positive increase in July. Comparing with other regional countries, the cabinet was informed that Bangladesh’s exports declined by 17% in July while India’s exports declined by 4%.

The National Information Technology Board (NITB) chief executive officer (CEO) presented the board performance before the cabinet and apprised the members of the progress made in digital transformation. Projects completed by the NITB include launch of e-services digital platform, successful young digital platform, patriot for doctors abroad, satellite information dashboard, task tracking system, national job portal, women empowerment, accurate price, call land, launch of 20 websites, and creation of websites for different ministries. The cabinet was also apprised of the progress of the e-office.

A report was submitted to the cabinet on the progress made in the present tenure of the government with regard to payment of arrears in respect of government advertisements.