Thursday October 06, 2022

Pakistan saved from bankruptcy, default: PM

Shehbaz said the previous government brought the country on the verge of default and bankruptcy but the country has been saved from going bankrupt

By Our Correspondent
June 28, 2022
PM Shehbaz addressing the members of the National Assembly from the PML-N and allied parties in Islamabad on June 27, 2022. Photo: PID
PM Shehbaz addressing the members of the National Assembly from the PML-N and allied parties in Islamabad on June 27, 2022. Photo: PID

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif on Monday said that the country has been saved from bankruptcy and default. 

“The last government brought the country on the verge of default and bankruptcy but the country has been saved from going bankrupt,” he said.

He pointed out that an agreement with the IMF would be reached shortly mentioning that the last government agreed on strict conditions with the Fund but later violated the same. “The IMF conditions are very strict but we found a way out and affluent people have been asked to sacrifice for the sake of poor people and country,” he said.

He further said that the country also averted a crisis of edible oil thanks to the Indonesian prime minister who following a conversation with him agreed to ship a huge quantity of commodity to the country.

He hinted at an increase in electricity loadshedding during the month of July due to non-availability of LNG and the oil and gas crisis in the world. “There may be an increase in power loadshedding in July but it will be for some days as due to negligence of the last government, we could not secure LNG consignments in July. These were purchased by the European countries,” he said.

The prime minister was addressing parliamentarians belonging to the PMLN and allies here on Monday night. The prime minister, however, gave a good news to the parliamentarians that after a high-level meeting of civil and military leaders, arrangements to import coal from Afghanistan had been finalised and it would be transported to the country by rail and trucks, saying that consignments would start arriving next month.

Shehbaz Sharif said the coal being imported from Afghanistan was of the same quality which the country used to import from South Africa. He said with the import of coal from Afghanistan, the country would save $2 billion annually while payments would be made in Pakistani rupees and not in dollar.

Shehbaz Sharif maintained that the super tax had been imposed on affluent people and owners of high-earning industries for one time and not on commodities and items like iron and textile. “The affluent people should come forward with the spirit of sacrifice and share burden of the common man,” the prime minister said.

He clarified that the super tax would have to be paid by the wealthy people saying that it was not true that the measure taken by the government would negatively impact the business community adding those doing business would continue to prosper their business.

“The imposition of one-time super tax on owners of high-earning industries is a revolutionary step and we hope that the affluent people will contribute to stabilising the economy,” he said adding the government was expecting to collect Rs200 billion from owners of high-earning industries.

Admitting that the price hike in the country was on the rise, he expressed the hope that all the challenges would be overcome. Earlier, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif ordered for completing the stalled Islamabad model jail project during the fiscal year 2022-23. The PM also ordered for allocating funds for completion of the project in the development budget for the financial year starting on July 1, 2022. He also constituted a five-member committee, headed by Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan, which will submit a report on the project in seven days. A notification with signatures of Secretary to the Prime Minister Dr Syed Tauqir Shah was also issued in this regard. Federal secretaries Interior, Housing, Planning and Chief Commissioner Islamabad, who is also chairman of the Capital Development Authority (CDA), are members of the committee.

The project, for which 90 acres of land was allotted by the CDA in Sector H-16, had been pending for the last 10 years due to meagre allocation of funds. Now PM Shehbaz Sharif has directed that the project should be completed on an emergency basis. As there is no prison in federal capital, the prisoners who are to be produced in courts of Islamabad have to be kept in Central Jail Adiala, Rawalpindi, which creates problems.

The proposed model jail, having barracks in double floor building will have improved facilities for prison’s staff and prisoners along with better security, to lodge 2,000 prisoners. The project was conceived around 10 years ago, but the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) approved it at its meeting with the-then finance minister Ishaq Dar in the chair on July 20, 2018.

According to the budget documents, so far Rs2,140 million have been spent on the project, which will cost a total of Rs3,928.523 million. The project still requires another Rs1,788.523 million for completion. However, as mentioned in the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP), only Rs350 million has been allocated for the plan for the year 2022-23.

However, sources said following the PM’s orders for completing the project in the financial year starting July 1, 2022, all the required funds would be made available. The funds will be provided by the federal government to the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), which is the executing agency of the project.