PM Shehbaz hints at taking ‘tough’ decision to tackle economic challenges


ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif hinted at taking tough economic decisions to get the country out of crises, ensuring to protect of downtrodden segments of the society.

Addressing a meeting of the Apex Committee of the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC), the prime minister said the burden of these tough measures would primarily fall on the wealthy and elite , with safeguards in place to protect the interests of the poor and vulnerable.

He said that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded the review for issuance of the last tranche of US$1.1 billion that hopefully be received by next month.

According to PM Shehbaz, Pakistan intends to begin a new three-year agreement with the IMF during which the government would implement stringent policies aimed at implementing comprehensive structural changes throughout the nation.

“We will succeed gradually in breaking the begging bowl and coming out of the debt trap with the reforms,” the prime minister said. He also sought the support of all political parties and the provincial governments to successfully implement the agenda of macroeconomic stability in the country.

“We all have to work together. With the support of all the provinces, we will together resolve all the challenges and difficulties faced by the country”, PM Shehbaz added.

He said that the fact that the Army Chief, all of the chief ministers, and other key national figures are present sent a strong message to the people of the country that we are united for the sake of the nation’s progress, prosperity, and integrity.

PM Shehbaz said that unfortunately, corruption consumes a significant portion of the nation’s resources. The tax collection target for this year is Rs 9 trillion, yet there is over Rs 1.3 trillion in potential. 

In a similar vein, he said that matters involving taxes totaling Rs 2.7 trillion were still lingering in tribunals and courts when they ought to have been settled long ago. 

 The prime minister stated that the yearly power theft costs over Rs 400 billion, and the total circular debt for gas and electricity is more than Rs 5 trillion. 

PM Shahebaz said the SIFC was formed in June 2023 to remove bottlenecks in the investment process and since then nine meetings of the Apex Committee have been held besides more than 200 relevant meetings.

Consequent to the meetings, he said some important decisions were taken and implemented under the umbrella of the Council.

The meeting was attended by Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Asim Munir, former Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar, CM Punjab Maryam Nawaz, CM Balochistan Sarfraz Bugti, CM Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah, CM Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Ali Amin Gandapur.

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