Jan 25, 2021: Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said that the government had been focusing on improving the real sector growth through the promotion of agriculture, industrial, and services sectors of the economy.
“The government is focused on bringing improvement in the real sector growth through inclusive growth in agriculture, industrial and services sectors,” he informed the Senate in a written reply to a question raised by a member of the Upper House.
He said that realizing the importance of sub-sectors of the economy, the government had initiated different programmes including National Agriculture Emergency Programme (NAEP) under which thirteen mega projects worth Rs277 billion were under execution currently.
He said that the objective of NAEP was to bring about improvements in water availability, soil conservation, and shrimp fanning, and establishing new agriculture markets.
The minister added that the Rs10.964 billion megaproject National Oilseed Enhancement Program (NOEP) under NAEP was launched to boost the adoption of oilseed crops at a cost of Rs10.964 billion for 5 years.
Likewise, the government allocated Rs10 billion for locust control in the current budget while an amount of Rs 12billion was allocated under Public Sector Development Programme 2020-21 for ensuring food security and promoting the agriculture sector.
He said that the government enhanced agriculture credit disbursement by 3.5 percent during the fiscal year 2020 to Rs 1214.7 billion as compared to the corresponding period of last year while during the first three months of the financial year 2020-21, agriculture credit disbursement stood at Rs250 billion.
Meanwhile, to support the industrial sector, the government had taken many initiatives including reduction of Federal Excise Duty (FED) on cement from Rs2 per kilogram to Rs1.5 per kilogram, relaxation of excise duties on textile items, Rs33 billion markup subsidy for the construction sector, Export Finance Scheme (EFS) maintained at 3 percent while Long Term Finance Facility (KTFF) was reduced from 6 percent to 5 percent.
Likewise, the State Bank of Pakistan had announced additional support of Rs190 billion for exporters and investors, he added.
The minister said that the government measure in agriculture, industries, and external sector along with controlling inflationary pressures would not only stimulate economic growth but would also provide significant support in reducing the poverty.
In addition, Shaikh added, the government also took many initiatives to promote growth and reduce poverty. These included the targeted poverty reduction intervention made through Ehsaas Program, BISP, Sehat Sahulat Program, expanding coverage of Weseela-e-Taleem Program, 10 billion Tree Tsunami Program, and Clean and Green Pakistan.
Under the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program total allocation of Rs144 billion was being disbursed for immediate cash relief of Rs12,000 each to 12 million families while under the Kamyab Jawan Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme Rs100 billion would be provided under low-cost loans for youth to set up or expand the business.
He said that the government also acted timely and announced the largest ever fiscal stimulus package of Rs1240 billion to covers the emergency response of Rs190 billion, support to business Rs480 billion, and Relief to Citizens Rs570 billion to mitigate the negative impacts of Covid-19.
All these measures were an indication of the government’s commitment to correct the fundamentals of the economy through effective policy-making and targeted reforms in order to achieve a sustainable and inclusive growth trajectory.