Economic indicators on positive trajectory amid challenges: PM

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has said the country’s economic indicators are on a positive trajectory despite many challenges including that of the COVID-19.
The Prime Minister was addressing a ceremony on Thursday in connection with Roshan Digital Account crossing $500 million mark in remittances.
Imran Khan said the present government has made record repayments of $20 billion in foreign loans over the last two and a half years. The Prime Minister expressed his pleasure over the record increase in the country’s exports at a time when the economies around the world were badly affected by the breakout of the pandemic. He said, “Our exports have increased more than our competitors including India and Bangladesh. He said the country’s textile sector is witnessing a boom and new textile mills are being opened.”
Imran Khan noted that the conscious efforts to improve exports as well as remittances including those in Roshan Digital Pakistan Account have helped stabilise rupee. The Prime Minister said that eighty-eight thousand Roshan Digital Accounts have been opened in ninety-seven countries. He pointed out that the overseas Pakistanis are the biggest asset and it has been his endeavour to tap this potential to take forward the country.
“I have been saying for the past 20 years to tap this enormous potential,” he said. “and there is still a lot of room for encouraging those abroad to avail the service”.
The Premier directed the governor of State Bank to brainstorm more ideas to engage overseas Pakistanis. “There is a need for focused advertising to increase the number of Roshan Digital Accounts.”
“The further we elevate from the achieved milestone of 88,000 accounts, the better,” he maintained.
The PM on the occasion also directed the banks to pay special attention to making the Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme a success. “We also need to work on the uplift of the small and medium industries so we can address the concerns of the Pakistanis at the grassroots level.”
“Today, the elite have every facility but the masses have been suffering for such a long time,” he said, and added, “no government paid attention to uplifting their status.”
Imran Khan directed the State Bank of Pakistan to open a special cell to fully facilitate the overseas Pakistanis in opening the Roshan Digital Account. He said the more we facilitate the expatriates, more amounts will come in the Roshan Digital Account.
He also stressed for a focused and innovative media campaign for overseas Pakistanis to apprise them about this new initiative. He was confident that this will help increase the number of accounts.
The Prime Minister said the banking sector has an important role in the Naya Pakistan Housing Program as well as the promotion of small and medium enterprises. He said these two sectors have the potential to accelerate the economic growth.
Speaking on the occasion, Governor State Bank of Pakistan Reza Baqir announced that Naya Pakistan Certificates will now also be available to expatriate Pakistanis in UK pound and Euro.
He said there are about seven to nine million overseas Pakistanis, expressing the confidence that more people will become part of the Roshan Digital Account. He said under this initiative the overseas Pakistanis can open their accounts without going to the bank or the embassy. He said these accounts have been made repatriable as part of efforts to facilitate the overseas Pakistanis.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that return of peace to Afghanistan will have lasting benefits for the region and beyond, through economic development, regional trade and improved connectivity.
The Prime Minister was talking to Head of Massoud Foundation of Afghanistan Ahmad Wali Massoud, who called on him on Thursday.
The Prime Minister reiterated his conviction that there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan and that a negotiated political settlement is the only way forward. He said after Afghanistan, Pakistan is the most desirous to see the return of peace in Afghanistan as it is deeply affected by the conflict.
In the context of Afghan peace process, the Prime Minister highlighted that Pakistan has extended full support to facilitate the US-Taliban Peace Agreement and the initiation of Intra-Afghan Negotiations. He stressed that the intra-Afghan negotiations provide a historic opportunity which must be seized by the Afghan leadership to achieve an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement.
The Prime Minister said Pakistan has been emphasizing to all sides to work together constructively, take steps for reduction of violence leading to ceasefire, and secure a political solution for a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan.
Imran Khan further highlighted the range of steps, including introduction of a liberal visa regime and increased facilitation in bilateral and transit trade to further strengthen fraternal ties between Pakistan and Afghanistan. He said Pakistan’s assistance for Afghanistan’s development efforts and human resource capacity-building will continue apace.
Extending war welcome to Ahmad Wali Massoud, Imran Khan said Pakistan and Afghanistan are bound by a fraternal relationship, rooted deep in shared history and commonalities of faith, culture and traditions.
He recalled the historic contribution of the late Ahmed Shah Massoud, who was a key Mujahideen leader, during the Afghan resistance movement.
The visit of Ahmad Wali Massoud and his delegation is in continuation of Pakistan’s policy to reach out to Afghan leaders to further strengthen bilateral ties and enhance mutual convergence on the Afghan peace process.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that protection and restoration of forests is part of government’s priorities as trees and their plantation are pivotal to contain adverse impact of climate change.
The Prime Minister said this while chairing a meeting on Thursday regarding protection and restoration of forests in Punjab.
The Prime Minister instructed to utilize modern technology for the conservation and restoration of forests. He advised to formulate a coordinated policy for restoration of jungles in the province.
Imran Khan directed to ensure coordinated measures to stop illegal hunting and cutting of trees in Punjab. The Prime Minister was briefed about steps taken for the revival of Changa Manga and other jungles. It was told that 25,000 acres of Chhanga Manga jungle were turned into barren land by cutting trees.
The meeting was informed that plantation on one thousand acres of land has been completed under Ten Billion Tree Tsunami, while forestation on another 2,5000 acres of land will be completed by 2023.
Separately, terming digitalisation of state land data “need of the hour”, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday directed to ensure the availability of the record on the websites of the concerned development authorities.
Presiding over a meeting of the National Coordination Committee on Housing and Construction in Islamabad today, PM Imran said that the data of the state land should be accessible to the citizens in general and to overseas Pakistanis in particular.
The Prime Minister directed all the provinces to provide the state land data to the Surveyor General of Pakistan. He directed the Sindh chief secretary to expedite work on development projects and boost economic activities in the province.
Briefing the meeting, Sindh chief secretary said that they would provide the land record to the Survey General of Pakistan after the approval of the provincial cabinet.
Separately, Prime Minister Imran Khan has emphasised that the government is making all-out efforts that senators should be elected through a transparent mechanism on the basis of competence and merit.
He was talking to leader of the House in Senate Dr Shahzad Waseem who called on him on Thursday. They discussed matters related to political situation and Senate elections. – TLTP

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