ISLAMABAD - Buoyed by rating agency Moody’s upbeat forecast about Pakistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday pledged more good news on the economic front very soon.

Showering praise on his economic team’s performance during the federal cabinet meeting, the prime minister said the team has turned the economy around. “I am very satisfied with the team’s performance,” he added.

Imran said provision of relief to the common man and bringing further economic stability were the top priorities of the government.

Expressing his satisfaction over the reports of leading global credit rating entities and financial institutions, he said a significant milestone had been achieved in the journey towards the economic stability.

Adviser on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh briefed the meeting about the improvement in the economic situation and the acknowledgement of the leading world financial and business entities, and credit companies. He said despite serious challenges, due to the government’s efforts, the economic stability was achieved.

The four leading financial institutes, including the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, International Monetary Bank and Moody’s had lauded improvement in Pakistan’s economy.

He said due the improvement in the financial outlook and the economic indicators, the confidence of local and foreign investors had increased as the investment prospects had also been further widened.

Dr Shaikh apprised that the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) had witnessed an increase by 286 percent as compared to the previous year. The stock market had touched 40,000 points after a period of eight months.

He said the imports volume also witnessed an increase of 10 percent whereas positive results were achieved in terms of dollar.

The prime minister opined that the people should be kept informed about the economic achievements, so that further confidence of the business community could be boosted.

The Cabinet was informed about progress on implementing the government’s decision to decrease electricity prices in winter.

It was told that 176,000 consumers had so far got benefitted from the scheme while the industrial sector had also welcomed the decision.

The cabinet was also told that efforts were being made that consumers using 300 units, which were 75 percent of the domestic consumers, could not be overburdened as the government was providing subsidy in that regard. It was being ensured that there was no complaint of overbilling anywhere in the country, while special attention was being given to end corruption.

It was also informed about line and other losses and the steps taken to overcome them.

Special Assistant to the PM for Petroleum Nadeem Babar informed the cabinet that special steps were being taken to apprise the people about proper usage of gas in winter. The consumers had been informed about various slabs of gas consumption and increase in the bill amount by using extra gas.

He said a proposal was under consideration to charge bill for extra gas consumed during winter in installments in summer months when there was overall decrease in the gas usage and its bill.

The cabinet ratified the decisions of the Economic Coordination Committee taken on November 27 and 28.

It also endorsed decisions taken by the Cabinet Committee on Privatisation on November 15 which included privatisation transaction structure of the SME Bank Ltd and approval for terms of reference for the committee formed for possible privatisation of PIA-owned Roosevelt Hotel.

To protect the child rights, the cabinet approved practical steps under the Juvenile Justice System Act, including establishment

of designated courts to District and Sessions Judges (East-West), Additional District and Sessions Judges, Senior Judges and the Civil District and Sessions division (East and West) in Islamabad.

The cabinet was of the view that under the relevant laws, regarding establishment of the special courts and till their complete functioning, the designated courts were being given the responsibility in the first phase to hear child related cases.

It also approved extension for further six months period in the Pakistan Essential Services (Maintenance) Act 1952 concerning all offices of Pakistan Security Printing Corporation and Security Papers Limited Karachi.

The cabinet also approved the budget of Jammu and Kashmir Estate Property for the fiscal year of 2019-29.

While deciding the formal date for promulgation of recently introduced legislation Letters of Administration and Succession Certificates Ordinance 2019, the cabinet also decided that the prime minister would be the chief guest on Friday during its formal launching ceremony.

The minister for law informed the meeting that after the promulgation of the law, within a period of one month, all Pakistanis residing inside or outside the country would be benefited from it.

The litigation over the hereditary or inheritance rights continued for years, but with the promulgation of law, the process would be finalized within period of 15 days.

The cabinet also gave its approval to the Enforcement of Women’s Property Rights Ordinance 2019 for ensuring protection of women rights in properties.

It also approved appointment of Dr Mohammad Yousaf Khusk as Chairman of Pakistan Academy of Letters for a period of three years.

The cabinet approved handing over of responsibility of member (water) WAPDA to current charge Zuhair Khan Durrani and that of member (power) to Javed Akhtar.

The Utility Stores Corporation chairman and managing director briefed the cabinet about Rs6 billion package to provide relief to the people by reducing the prices of essential goods. It was told that there would be a decrease of Rs10 per kg in the price of ghee and Rs5 of that of sugar, Rs40 of that of 20kg flour bag, and Rs 10-20 per kg of those of pulses.

The cabinet was informed that an IMB system was being purchased to digitalise and computerise the system of sale and purchase of commodities at the Utility Stores, which would be installed by March next year. Its installation would help make the sale and purchase, and provision of targeted subsidy at the Utility Stores transparent.

It was also informed that the Utility Stores Corporation was devising a programme in collaboration with the Ehsass Programme to provide essential items to the people living below the poverty line, under which some 20 million Ehsaas Sahulat Cards would be issued in three years, five million of them by 2020. Prime Minister Imran Khan directed the Utility Stores Corporation to complete the process of purchasing and provision of essential items at Utility Stores immediately so that relief could be provided to the poverty-stricken people, particularly those living below the poverty line.

The cabinet approved appointment of Khalid Ahmed Latif as Chief Operating Officer National Insurance Company Limited.