Thursday, March 23, 2023

Tarin Highlights economic plans for 14 key sectors

Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin announced another short-, medium-, and long-term economic plan for 14 important industries on Friday, pledging not to quit the International Monetary Fund (IMF) program and instead of taking it to face-to-face negotiations in Washington in October.

Tarin also said the deadlock on Pakistan’s steel mills has been broken and that proposals will open in a few days for its official privatization process, speaking at a press conference with eight cabinet colleagues and private sector members of the Economic Advisory Council (EAC).

Mr. Tarin stated that performance in 14 areas will be reviewed beginning in September and that the prime minister would be briefed on the execution of the plans every month. “As a result, plans focus not just on developing strategies but also on guaranteeing execution, which is a significant departure from prior practice,” he added. He stated that while the present administration would be able to execute only short-term initiatives, some of which were already included in the current fiscal year’s budget, it would set the scene for future governments to follow.

The plan’s basic objectives include increasing overall economic growth from 3 percent to 6 percent over the next three years while keeping balance-of-payments pressures at bay and inflationary expectations low. It also involves raising the tax-to-GDP ratio by 1.5 to 2 percentage points per year, achieving a target of $30 billion in exports by FY 2023-24, and maintaining the momentum in international remittances.

The main goal is to provide a large number of job possibilities throughout time in order to involve the youth in productive areas of the economy.

Agriculture, including small farms, micro-enterprises, small and medium companies, construction, tourism, and information technology are the sectors highlighted for driving growth through the EAC platform. Mr. Tarin stated that this will be accomplished by policies that are logical, consistent, and well-coordinated among the federal, provincial, and private sectors.

Dr. Ishrat Hussain, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Institutional Reforms, stated that the roadmap would ensure export-led growth and strengthen the local government system because the devolution process under the 18th Amendment and the seventh National Finance Commission award had not been completed.

A multi-pronged plan for institutional changes in the public sector is included in the medium and long-term agenda, and provincial governments will prioritize attaining universal access to excellent education, health, safe drinking water, and sanitation.

Similarly, the federal and provincial governments would increase their emphasis on human development and build physical infrastructure that is behind in remote areas. The completion of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects, notably in agriculture, industrial cooperation, socio-economic development, and financial inclusion, is also part of the medium- to long-term planning.

It also involves the use of special technology zones, information technology parks, and incubation and entrepreneurship centers to supplement CPEC investments.

Long-term planning in the power and energy sectors includes executing the Renewable Energy Policy and the National Power Policy in order to achieve the target of 60% energy generation from non-fossil fuels, including hydropower generation.

The approach for tackling the circular debt problem involves lowering the cost of electricity generation by flattening the capacity payment curve through power producer restructuring.

Simultaneously, measures will be done to increase grid electricity demand by incentivizing captive-to-grid shift and the integration of NTDC-KE networks.

Farmers will be provided price guarantees and confirmed off takes as part of a multifaceted and multidimensional price stability plan to safeguard them from abuse at the hands of wholesalers and middlemen.

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