ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Farrukh Habib said on Tuesday that, when in power, the focus of PMLN and PPP remained on money laundering, fake accounts and corruption instead of taking steps to increase production of the country and improve economy.
Addressing a press conference along with Minister for Finance Shaukat Tarin and SAPM on Food Security Jamshed Iqbal Cheema, he said that global commodity prices did not rise from 2008 to 2018 when PPP and PMLN ruled the country. He said since the outbreak of COVID 19, reduction in production was registered and logistics costs shot up which resulted in increase of prices of daily use commodities.
He said according to the UNFAO report, from February 2020 to August 2021, food items prices have increased globally by 127 percent. He said that Pakistan imported 70 cent of pulses and edible oil.
The minister said due to prudent government policies, the full impact of global inflation has not been shifted to the consumers. He said the present government was working on food security as it was vital for Pakistan as an agricultural country.
He lamented that PMLN had set up sugar mills in cotton growing areas in the past and sugarcane cultivation had been started there which badly affected cotton production. The minister said that Rs1,000 billion housing and commercial projects have been approved for low income and middle class with an economic impact of Rs5,000 billion.
The income of the working class has also increased during past couple of years, he said adding the labourers earning Rs500 to 600 a day in the past were now earning Rs1000 per day and masons earning about Rs1200 in the past were now earning Rs2,000 to 2,500 per day. Today all power looms were active in Faisalabad, and more textile mills were being built which was manifestation of good policies of the government.
The world, he said has been appreciating the policy of Prime Minister Imran Khan to fight COVID-19, and The Economist lauded Pakistan's handling of coronavirus. The opposition parties’ leaders, he said, including Maryam Safdar and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari were demanding a complete lockdown from the beginning as they had no feelings for labour class and daily wage earners.
Mechanism against profiteering and hoarding has been developed and data was being reviewed every week in collaboration with the provinces, he said.
Farrukh Habib said that Kamyab Jawan Programme, Low Income Housing Scheme and Sehat Insaf Card schemes were meant for low income groups. He revealed that banks received Rs154 billion loan applications for construction of low-income houses, out of which Rs60 billion loans have been approved.
He said that State Bank of Pakistan was now providing capital of up to Rs10 million to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) which will create innumerable employment opportunities in the country.
Meanwhile, PMLN Secretary Information Marriyum Aurangzeb has said the PTI government has made big bucks from the people’s pockets by buying expensive wheat.
In a statement issued here Tuesday, she said it is unfortunate that an agricultural country was importing sugar, cotton and wheat. She said Prime Minister Imran Khan doesn’t mind that because his ‘ATMs’ were making money illegally from these deals. Importing wheat at Rs369.50 instead of Rs280 was exactly in line with the vision of Imran Khan, she taunted.
This government has approved the import of 120,000 tonnes of overpriced wheat and the same playbook of corruption was being used which was used in the procurement of LNG, she added.
The former information minister said, “Imran’s vision was very clear. Don’t buy cheaper LNG and wait till it gets expensive and then make big bucks on it through your ATMs. Don’t buy affordable cotton; make overpriced deals so that Imran’s ATMs fill their pockets with illegal profits. And when all this illegal activity is completed, Imran acts as he had been sleeping through it all; orders an inquiry that exonerates the culprits. This wheat import by the PTI government has robbed the people of billions of rupees.”
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