Pakistan’s progressive policies uplift the national economy

Pakistan’s GDP rate was estimat ed to be 2.9 percent against the targeted growth of 2.1 percent. (AFP file photo)
Pakistan’s GDP rate was estimat ed to be 2.9 percent against the targeted growth of 2.1 percent. (AFP file photo)
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Updated 14 August 2021

Pakistan’s progressive policies uplift the national economy

Pakistan’s progressive policies uplift the national economy

Pakistan’s economy is moving progressively on a higher inclusive and sustainable growth path on the back of various measures and resultant achievements despite a myriad of challenges.

Pakistan implemented a policy of stabilization following the national economic crisis of 2017-18 and the economy recovered from macroeconomic imbalances, but the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic slowed down the pace. The economy recovered initially but the second and third waves of the virus posed serious challenges, which were met by the incumbent federal government with its timely prudent policies.

The national economy of Pakistan already had a volatile growth pattern over the years marked by regular boom-and-bust cycles, which posed challenges in achieving long-term and inclusive growth. Against the backdrop of a host of challenges, the present government focused on an economic vision of securing sustainable economic growth through improved efficiency, reduced cost of doing business, better regulatory environment, enhanced  productivity, and increased investment.

During the past three years of the incumbent federal government, it had faced numerous economic challenges which were somehow aggravated by the pandemic. However, the federal government has quite successfully progressed from recovery and stabilization of the national economy to its sustainable growth.

The impact of the federal government’s timely and appropriate measures is very much visible in the form of an economic recovery on the back of broad-based growth across all sectors.

Some other achievements reported over the past year include:

Pakistan’s gross domestic product (GDP) rate was estimated to be 2.9 percent against the targeted growth of 2.1 percent through the policy initiatives.

Besides extending the economic stimulus for the fiscal year in 2021, an amount of Rs155 billion was also released to mitigate the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic.

Home remittances by overseas Pakistanis grew significantly.

The current account balance showed improvement.

The country’s exports also showed an appreciable turnaround.

Furthermore, the World Bank recognized the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program as being among the top four social protection interventions in the world in terms of the number of people it covered. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) also said government policies have been crucial in supporting the national economy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In alignment with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the federal government is placing a high emphasis on poverty alleviation through urban development, affordable housing, access to mass media, and more. According to the Ministry of Finance, the government has invested in 17 sectors that aim to alleviate poverty.

Social protection has a central role to play in addressing the social, economic, and health dimensions of the COVID-19 crisis.

Pakistan’s largest social protection initiative, Ehsaas, includes more than 260 policies. The Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program provided Rs 179.8 billion to more than 15 million families across Pakistan. The Ehsaas Roshan Portal linked donors from the private sector and civil society organizations with beneficiaries in need of basic food.

For this coming fiscal year, expect improvements in the global economy as the pandemic will subside with the expansion of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. There is an anticipation of favorable weather conditions as the GDP is targeted to grow at 4.8 percent. The agriculture sector is likely to grow by 3.5 percent based on the revival of cotton, water availability, certified seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, and agriculture credit facilities.

The industrial sector is expected to maintain its momentum and is targeted to grow at 6.2 percent. This forecast is based on sustained large-scale manufacturing, a collateral-free credit guarantee scheme, and construction with spillovers in allied industries. The service sector is also set to grow by 4.7 percent on the back of the envisaged growth in the agriculture and industry sectors.

On the fiscal and monetary front, average inflation is targeted to remain within 8 percent on the basis of expected adjustments in energy tariffs while high global food and commodity prices may stay high.

On the external front, imports are expected to grow significantly by 9.5 percent. However, the robust growth in home remittances (10 percent) and modest growth in exports (6.5 percent) are likely to offset the imports. Thus, the current account deficit is projected to remain around 0.7 percent of the GDP. However, building capabilities and providing opportunities through public investment will alleviate widespread unemployment in the country and sustain the national economy’s growth momentum.

With a number of socio-economic initiatives being pushed with the aim to maintain national economic growth, the Pakistan government is determined to expand the social protection network to cover a maximum number of vulnerable segments in the society. The country’s economy is moving forward from stability to growth as there are signs of hope and progress.

•  Mohammed Zahid Rifat is Lahore-based freelance journalist, columnist, and retired deputy controller (news) at Radio Pakistan, Islamabad.


UK’s Bentley pouring billions into electric car overhaul

UK’s Bentley pouring billions into electric car overhaul
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 6 sec ago

UK’s Bentley pouring billions into electric car overhaul

UK’s Bentley pouring billions into electric car overhaul

Luxury automaker Bentley said Wednesday it is pouring billions into upgrading manufacturing to accelerate its electric vehicle development plan, joining other auto brands shifting away from gasoline engines.


UK-based Bentley Motors said that it’s investing 2.5 billion pounds ($3.4 billion) into sustainability efforts over the next decade.

The company said the money will be used to secure the company’s “first step into electrification at the production plant” in Crewe, south of Manchester, which employs 4,000 people.


Under the electrification program, Bentley will abandon the powerful 12-cylinder gasoline engines that the marque’s luxurious vehicles are known for in favor of battery power.

The first model is scheduled to roll off the production line in 2025 and by 2030 all of Bentley’s model lineup will be electric.


Bentley, which is owned by Volkswagen, already makes hybrid version of its Bentayga SUV and Flying Spur sedan.


“Our aim is to become the benchmark not just for luxury cars or sustainable credentials but the entire scope of our operations,” Chairman Adrian Hallmark said in a press release.


Qatar could reroute some gas to Europe with US mediation: source

Qatar could reroute some gas to Europe with US mediation: source
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 8 min 22 sec ago

Qatar could reroute some gas to Europe with US mediation: source

Qatar could reroute some gas to Europe with US mediation: source

Qatar will need help from the United States to persuade Doha’s natural gas customers to reroute some supplies to Europe in case a Russia-Ukraine conflict disrupts Russian deliveries to the continent, a source familiar with the discussions said.


The issue will be discussed at talks in Washington next week between the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and President Joe Biden, one of the sources said.


Saudi PIF-owned Savvy makes debut with acquisition of ESL and FACIT

Saudi PIF-owned Savvy makes debut with acquisition of ESL and FACIT
Updated 29 min 29 sec ago

Saudi PIF-owned Savvy makes debut with acquisition of ESL and FACIT

Saudi PIF-owned Savvy makes debut with acquisition of ESL and FACIT

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund launched Savvy Gaming Group that will be chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The group seeks to be a leading developer of games at home and internationally, according to a statement from the Fund, known as PIF.

The Saudi-owned Savvy will acquire ESL and FACEIT platform and merge them into one entity to be the cornerstone of reaching the group goals, the statement added.

Savvy has acquired ESL Gaming Co. for $1.08 billion.

The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2022, Handelblatt reported, citing an announcement from ESL FACEIT Group.

The group, backed by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, acquired the esports platform FACEIT in an earlier $500 million deal.

“Our merger with FACEIT, along with the backing of SGG, will give us more know-how, capabilities, and resources than ever before to deliver on this vision,” CEO of ESL, Craig Levine, said.

“Whether you are competing or watching, doing so socially or at a professional level, every stage of the pathway will be improved through this merger,” he added. 

Electronic gaming, or egaming, is an increasingly popular activity, with a recent study suggesting that 50 percent of the Saudi population consider themselves regular gamers.

Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Sultan, president of the Saudi Esports Federation told Arab News in October that the sector will contribute about 1 percent of Saudi GDP by 2030, which might seem a small proportion but the amount of money potentially involved is significant.

 


UAE’s Chimera, US Alpha Wave to lead $10bn tech fund

UAE’s Chimera, US Alpha Wave to lead $10bn tech fund
Image: Getty
Updated 39 min 39 sec ago

UAE’s Chimera, US Alpha Wave to lead $10bn tech fund

UAE’s Chimera, US Alpha Wave to lead $10bn tech fund
  • The fund’s ticket size ranges from “tens of millions to hundreds”

RIYADH: Abu Dhabi based investment firm Chimera Capital has joined global alternative asset manager Alpha Wave in leading a $10 billion tech fund.

The fund will have a global remit but with a concentration on India and will focus on private firms across a wide array of sectors including artificial intelligence, financial technology, and life sciences, Bloomberg reported.

Both institutions will work hand in hand to pinpoint and run potential management opportunities in the South Asian country.

The fund’s ticket size ranges from “tens of millions to hundreds,” Bloomberg reported, citing Seif Fikry, Chimera’s chief executive officer.

This falls in line with the Gulf’s growing role as a major channel of capital for international firms such as SoftBank Group Corp. and Silver Lake.

The Gulf region has hit a record year for tech investments with an accumulated balance of $621 billion dispersed worldwide.


China’s Xi: Climate goals should not reduce our productivity

China’s Xi: Climate goals should not reduce our productivity
Updated 48 min 56 sec ago

China’s Xi: Climate goals should not reduce our productivity

China’s Xi: Climate goals should not reduce our productivity

RIYADH: China’s president, Xi Jinping, has warned the country’s climate objectives should not hold back productivity in the economic powerhouse.

Speaking at a Politburo session on Tuesday, Xi insisted that efforts to decarbonise the Asian country must not jeopardize the supply of vital commodities.

In 2020, Xi vowed to peak emissions by 2030 and deliver a net zero nation by 2060.

According to state news agency Xinhua, the president said: “Reducing emissions is not about reducing productivity, and it is not about not emitting at all.”

He added: “We must stick to the overall planning and ensure energy security, industrial supply chain security and food security at the same time as cutting carbon emissions.”

China’s drive to cut emissions led to a limit in coal, metal, and fertilizers production, causing an increase in their prices. This negatively affected inflation concerns in the country.

However, the country is expected to maintain stable oil, gas, and coal production — particularly amid power shortages across the nation.