Saturday Jul 11, 2020
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday emphasised that out-of-the-box solutions were required for economic growth in these crucial times as the COVID-19 outbreak had adversely impacted the entire world's economy, including that of Pakistan.
Chairing a meeting of the Finance and Economy think tank, he said that from day one, the government adopted a strategy to maintain a balance between sustaining economic activity and protecting the masses from the infectious disease.
Adviser on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Adviser on Institutional Reforms Dr Ishrat Hussain, Governor State Bank of Pakistan Reza Baqir, and former finance secretary Dr Waqar Masood Khan were present, the Prime Minister's Office said in a press release.
Meanwhile, Adviser on Commerce Abdul Razaq Dawood, Shaukat Tareen, Sultan Alana, Dr Ijaz Nabi, and Arif Habib participated via video-link.
Sheikh briefed the session about the objectives and focus areas of the think tank. "The purpose of the think tank is to take steps to improve the economy in collaboration with experts in various fields," he said.
The meeting reviewed the banking and finance sector and it was decided that loans be provided to the people in easy instalments.
It decided to digitise financial institutions on a priority basis, said Sheikh, following the meeting, adding that the decision to provide incentives to the people in the construction sector will be put into practice.
Today's session follows the first meeting of the National Coordination Committee on Housing, Construction and Development held a day earlier after which the government announced that a Rs30bn subsidy will be provided for the Naya Pakistan Housing Project (NPHP) so people can fulfil their dream of owning a house.
State-run APP quoted the prime minister as saying one of the purposes of the new committee is to remove hiccups in the process relating to the State Bank of Pakistan and commercial banks on house-building finance.
It would also simplify the laws related to the construction industry and for easing of loan disbursement.
In today's meeting, the prime minister directed that regular feedback from the think tank be provided to him on various ongoing initiatives, policies, and programmes of the government.
The prime minister emphasised that their prime focus was on providing relief to the poor segments of society through targeted subsidies.
He said the Ehsaas programme was a flagship programme of the government to alleviate poverty and required expansion along with a strategy to reach the most needy people.
The prime minister highlighted that a substantive package had been announced for the construction and housing sector that aimed at increasing much-needed employment opportunities and economic stimulus as well as adding to the inventory of affordable housing for the poor.
The premier highly appreciated the proposals presented by the think tank regarding banking and finance, further improving the Ehsaas programme and facilitating small and medium enterprises.