ISLAMABAD: In a conversation with Narratives, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Revenue Dr Waqar Masood said that the government’s timely strategies helped mitigate the adverse economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
During these perplexing times, he said the Ehsaas Programme cushioned the vulnerable segment of society, and meanwhile, the relief packages for the construction sector created a prosperous ripple effect for all the associated industries like steel, cement, and so on.
Talking about the trade activities, Masood said the overall exports have picked up in recent months while the large-scale manufacturing sector posted 6.6 percent year-on-year growth in October 2020. The country logged unprecedentedly high remittances of above $2 billion for six consecutive months, while the current account recorded a surplus for the fifth consecutive month in November 2020 at $447 million as compared to a deficit of $326m during the same month in 2019.
“These accomplishments are truly incredible because Pakistan achieved these milestones at a time when it is still reeling from the COVID-19 catastrophe”. The improvement in various economic indicators during the first quarter of fiscal year 2020-21 is evidence of positive development in most economic sectors, he added.
Dr Masood boasted that the government has managed to give a promising performance so far. However, “there is pressure on food supplies as the production of important crops went down by 30-40 percent. The situation will pose a big challenge for the local industry in the coming months and severely affect the export sector as well as the country’s foreign exchange,” the special assistant to the prime minister admitted.
He told Narratives that the government’s main concern is the uninterrupted and low-cost provision of sugar and wheat so that the public does not have to experience a similar crisis like that of the last year.