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.


OPEC+ likely to be cautious on oil demand at upcoming meeting

OPEC+ likely to be cautious on oil demand at upcoming meeting
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 10 sec ago

OPEC+ likely to be cautious on oil demand at upcoming meeting

OPEC+ likely to be cautious on oil demand at upcoming meeting
  • Opec+ is a group consisting of both Opec and some of the world's largest non-Opec oil exporting nations

RIYADH: The OPEC+ group is likely to take a cautious stance when deciding next week whether to go ahead with planned production increases following the discovery of a new COVID-19 variant has emerged, Geneva-based oil trader Vitol Group said. 

The new variant, named Omicron, has rattled the oil market globally, pushing prices down to their biggest decline since April 2020. 

There are signs that demand may be weakening in some markets going into the winter months in Asia and Europe, said Mike Muller, the head of the Asia unit at Vitol, as reported by Bloomberg.

The new coronavirus variant will probably lead to more flight cancellations this week, he said.

Several countries have tightened travel restrictions against a number of African countries, following the discovery.

Opec+ is a group consisting of both Opec and some of the world's largest non-Opec oil exporting nations.

“OPEC+ have erred on the side of caution,” Muller said on a weekly webinar by Dubai consultancy Gulf Intelligence.

“Post facto they’ve proven to be right. It is likely they will take into account these fundamentals and the possibility of a demand hit over the winter months.”

OPEC and its partners, including Russia, will meet next week to discuss whether it will implement a planned production increase of 400,000 barrels per day.

 


Qatar’s wealth fund might acquire $7bn gas assets from UK’s National Grid: CNBC

Qatar’s wealth fund might acquire $7bn gas assets from UK’s National Grid: CNBC
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 41 min 53 sec ago

Qatar’s wealth fund might acquire $7bn gas assets from UK’s National Grid: CNBC

Qatar’s wealth fund might acquire $7bn gas assets from UK’s National Grid: CNBC
  • Goldman Sachs and Barclays are advising National Grid on the sale

RIYADH: Qatar Investment Authority (QIA),  the country’s sovereign wealth fund, may acquire assets of the UK’s National Grid, which operates electricity and natural gas transmission networks, CNBC Arabia reported, citing two unnamed sources.

QIA was part of a consortium of investors that acquired about 61 percent of the British company's gas pipeline assets five years ago.

Now the Qatari fund is competing with other global investment funds, including Macquarie and Equitix, to acquire the gas assets in an estimated $7 billion deal, the sources said. 

Goldman Sachs and Barclays are advising National Grid on the sale, the report added.

This comes amid a protracted energy crisis that has affected the UK and Europe significantly in recent months amid the disruption of global supply chains. 

The country earlier announced it reached an agreement with Qatar to secure its gas needs or 40 percent of the UK’s total energy mix. 

National Grid has a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange and a secondary listing in the form of its American depositary receipts on the New York Stock Exchange.


Amazon to open Abu Dhabi fulfilment centre by 2024, says govt media office

Amazon to open Abu Dhabi fulfilment centre by 2024, says govt media office
Updated 28 November 2021

Amazon to open Abu Dhabi fulfilment centre by 2024, says govt media office

Amazon to open Abu Dhabi fulfilment centre by 2024, says govt media office

 Amazon has partnered with Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) to establish a fulfilment centre by 2024 to be built in accordance with the company's carbon-reduction strategies, the Abu Dhabi government's media office said on Sunday


The project will create thousands of jobs, boosting Abu Dhabi's logistics sector and retail ecosystem and will be in line with the UAE's ambition to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, the media office added.


Gulf countries to establish integrated industrial strategy: Bahraini minister

Gulf countries to establish integrated industrial strategy: Bahraini minister
Updated 28 November 2021

Gulf countries to establish integrated industrial strategy: Bahraini minister

Gulf countries to establish integrated industrial strategy: Bahraini minister

Countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are planning to set up an integrated industrial strategy, Bahraini Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism Zayed Alzayani said.

This will be done by creating a unified “Gulf strategy for industry,” Asharq Al-Awsat reported, citing him.

The Gulf countries are also trying to increase dependence on each other instead of importing raw materials from abroad, which Alzayani said could create jobs, diversify economies, and expand their exporting values. 

He added the region is heading towards the formation of a customs and economic union by 2025, and the integrated industrial system will help the Gulf to stand among global conglomerates as a single bloc.

When combined, Gulf countries are the 12th largest economy globally, the minister said, adding their aim to be among the top 10 biggest economies in the world.

 


Lebanon launches second licensing round for 8 offshore oil, gas blocks 

Lebanon launches second licensing round for 8 offshore oil, gas blocks 
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 28 November 2021

Lebanon launches second licensing round for 8 offshore oil, gas blocks 

Lebanon launches second licensing round for 8 offshore oil, gas blocks 
  • The US is mediating between Lebanon and Israel, who are technically at war, to resolve the dispute

RIYADH: Lebanon has launched the second licensing round for eight offshore oil and gas blocks after two years of delay.

The government had agreed to launch the second round in April 2019 but it was postponed due to the pandemic, Bloomberg reported.

The US is mediating between Lebanon and Israel, who are technically at war, to resolve the dispute over about 860 square kilometers of water.

The deadline for applications is June 15, according to the Lebanese Petroleum Administration.