KARACHI: State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Dr Reza Baqir on Wednesday said the government efficiently handled Covid-19 due to the best approach and policies under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan Pakistan
“After World War II it was the biggest global crisis,” he said while addressing the first day of 5th The Future Summit’. “However, Pakistan succeeded in strengthening the economic indicators against many other countries wherein their economies badly shattered because of lockdowns. And, even then, they suffered huge human losses,” he said.
He said Pakistan government adopted the policy of “Safety of Life and Livelihood” and allowed to continue economic activities in the country amid strict checks over the spread of the coronavirus. “Prime Minister and his financial team deserved credit for saving the country from economic crisis, along with minimising the Covid-hit casualties,” he added.
Dr Baqir said the government extended financial support to trade and industries to offset Covid shocks which otherwise would have been compelled to lay off a large number of their employees creating chaos in the society.
He said the government distributed billions of rupees among the poor through Ehsaas Cash Programme to make them meet their basic needs till the Covid-19 situation improved and received global appreciation.
“Pakistanis should feel proud of the government’s strategy on COVID-19. From top leadership the economic managers’ response was very proactive,” he remarked.
He briefed on steps taken by State Bank of Pakistan to protect trade and industry from COVID-19 and supporting the economy. This included launching Temporary Economic Refinancing Facility for expansion and new industrialisation under which Rs 470 billion soft loans was provided.
He said the economic fundamentals were rather strengthened over last two years. “Fiscal deficit was significantly reduced whereas in many countries it went up. Similarly, the current deficit was controlled and the balance of payments position improved as the foreign reserves continued to increase,” he added.
Finding way forward
Sindh Governor Imran Ismail also praised Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government’s approach and strategy to handle Covid-19 situation. “From day one, Prime Minister Imran Khan had a different approach on corona epidemic and was not in favour of lockdowns to save a large number of the population from starving,” he said.
When the Covid-19 epidemic out-broke, the world started shutting down and there was huge pressure on our government as well to go for shutdowns, but Imran Khan and his team adopted a different approach ensuring safety of the people’s life and livelihood, he added.
He also praised SBP Governor Dr Reza Baqir for better functioning of the central bank and taking various important initiatives for dealing with the coronavirus situation. He regretted that the past governments severely harmed the country’s economy and now Imran Khan and his team were aggressively fighting on it.
“We are also trying to bring reforms in institutions including FBR to ensure corruption free and business friendly environment,” he said, adding that the government’s performance was very remarkable and the credit went to Prime Minister Imran Khan.
He criticised the opposition political parties for their negative politics damaging the stock exchange.He urged on rightly portraying the success stories of businesspersons, financial managers and other professionals instead of always talking about problems and challenges to the country. “As a nation, we should focus on finding way forward,” he concluded.