All economic gauges are showing positive improvement: Khan

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has urged the overseas Pakistanis to invest in their home country and earn a good return, besides strengthening the national economy.
Addressing the launching ceremony of Naya Pakistan Certificates (NPC) here on Thursday evening, the Prime Minister asked the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to devise a new product to attract overseas Pakistanis to invest in the country.
“It is when you’re away from your country, you care about it the most and it’s true for Pakistani expatriates who are the biggest investors for the country,” said the Prime Minister. He noted people living across the oceans loved Pakistan the most and crediting it partly to their remittances and investments, said the economy has started in the right direction.
He said that overseas Pakistanis have proved their mettle in every field and they own wealth equal to the total GDP of Pakistan. The Prime Minister said, “We can convince overseas Pakistanis to invest their dollars in Pakistan by providing an enabling environment and facilitation.”
Talking about the government’s efforts to revamp the economy, Imran Khan said that all economic indicators are showing positive improvement. He said the current account deficit has become surplus for the first time in the last 17 years, whereas exports have witnessed an increase of 24 percent as well as a rise in remittances.
He said that record cement sales indicate that the construction industry is also flourishing. Imran Khan said that now the country’s economy is heading in the right direction and Pakistan has come out of the difficult period.
On the inflation plaguing the country, the PM said untimely heavy rains caused great damage to wheat crops that coupled with food security issues that were heightened by the COVID-19 outbreak. He also said mafia in the sugar industry played an instrumental role to cause the crisis and asserted the government will henceforth ensure to tighten the noose around all mafias.
Imran Khan blamed rupee devaluation for the hike in commodity prices and said when the dollar appreciates against the local rupee, it renders commodities and groceries expensive. But he said the rupee has been doing relatively better now and it’s looking at stability.
It may be noted that Naya Pakistan Certificates (NPCs) which are being introduced to facilitate overseas Pakistanis for opening a Foreign Currency Value Account (FCVA) are for overseas Pakistanis and those who have declared assets abroad with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).
Earlier Faisal Javed of the ruling party said NPC holders will get up to 7 per cent return in US dollars and 11 percent in Pakistani currency, whereas, Islamic Certificates (Shariah-compliant) are also being offered by the central bank.
The certificates will be made available for the period of three months to five years while early encashment is allowed, said Faisal Javed, adding that no tax filing is required for Non-Resident Pakistanis (NRP) and only 10 per cent withholding tax will be charged on profits.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed for finalising incentives for setting up Special Technology Zones to attract foreign investments.
Chairing a meeting here on Thursday, the Prime Minister said that many talented overseas Pakistanis are also interested to invest in the sector.
The Prime Minister emphasized that Pakistan has immense potential in the IT sector, which needs to be optimally tapped for fulfilling the country’s domestic requirements as well as exporting IT-related products. He said the young Pakistani population will get maximum advantages from promoting the neglected IT sector of the country.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan has approved specific funding for the advance purchase of the Covid-19 vaccine, according to a statement released by the Ministry of National Health Services Regulation on Thursday.
The health ministry said that the Prime Minister has shown special interest in ensuring quality vaccines at the earliest and has approved specific funding in this regard. The ministry said the government has developed a Covid-19 vaccine strategy in response to global best practices.
According to a statement issued by the ministry, under this strategy, the government has prioritized the groups most likely to be the initial recipients of a potential vaccine. It said an expert committee on the Covid-19 vaccine has been working on technical oversight and review of safety and efficacy data coming in from trials.
Earlier, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health, Dr Faisal Sultan confirmed that the PM has approved funds to purchase the possible vaccines of Covid-19 in advance. The funds were approved after the Ministry of National Health Services Regulations and Coordination had written a letter to PM Imran Khan to seek permission for advance booking of coronavirus vaccines.
Earlier on November 4, it was learnt that the health ministry has recommended purchases of potential coronavirus vaccines under last-stage trials and allocation of $100 million funds for its advance booking.
The ministry recommended allocation of $100 million in funds for the purchases of vaccines on an emergency basis for around 10 million nationals. In its first phase, the vaccines will be made available for elderly citizens and health workers.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that the country is moving in the right direction despite the COVID-19 challenge.
The Prime Minister said this in a tweet on Thursday while referring to a media report on restoration of the textile sector of Faisalabad after nearly 30 years in the country. The Prime Minister also shared a television news report about the increased economic activity in Faisalabad and the resultant shortage of 0.2 million labourers required to meet the high demand of orders in the textile sector.
Factories and power looms in the past faced closure owing to the power crisis emerged due to apathy of previous governments. However, during the coronavirus situation, Pakistan witnessed orders in the textile sector diverted towards it from various countries.
The news report mentioned that Faisalabad had overall 1.3 million workers with one million natives and 0.3 million belonging to other districts.
Known as the country’s textile hub, Faisalabad for the first time after 1990, has seen a massive economic growth following a high demand of export items and the government’s recently announced incentive of electricity supply for the industrial sector at reduced rates. – TLTP

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