ISLAMABAD - The government has blasted and disowned its own spokesperson for economy and energy, Farrukh Saleem, after he dared to give an independent opinion on the much-debated rupee depreciation.

Saleem, who was given this position in October 2018, said on Wednesday that policy of depreciating currency has not helped in enhancing the exports.

He admitted that the government’s strategy to fix the economic troubles has not worked as the efforts have been to treat the symptoms and not the disease.

“The government is not curing the disease but hiding the symptoms. The results of devaluing rupee are not good. Despite 30 percent devaluation of the rupee, exports are still on the decline.”

In an interview with a private news channel, he said that the government would have to consider some new strategy to improve the economy.

Later, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain has claimed that Farrukh Saleem was not a spokesman of government of Pakistan.

“We ought to have appointed him as spokesman on economy but later it transpired that PM office has banned any hiring, so his appointment could not transpire and he is free to have any opinion,” the information minister said in his tweet.

Interestingly, Fawad had announced the appointment of Saleem as government’s spokesman for economy and energy in October 2018.

The government had also appointed Yousuf Baig Mirza as the Prime Minister’s special assistant on media affairs in December 2018, which contradict the information minister’s statement about the ban on hiring.

Farrukh Saleem in his articles for an English language daily has also been describing himself as the government’s spokesperson on economy and energy issues.

Sources in government however informed that Saleem had never attended crucial meetings on economic issues held in the ministry of finance.

“I have never seen him in Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet meetings held on weekly basis,” said an official of the ministry of finance.

Saleem was also not present in the meetings with International Monetary Fund (IMF) for the fresh loan programme, the official said.

The Nation tried to contact Farrukh Saleem to take his comment but he was not available.

Whether he held this position or not, the economic expert is right in saying that exports had not increased as a result of rupee depreciation.

The rupee had depreciated by 33 percent in last one year. The value of US dollar surged to Rs140 from Rs104 in November 2018. But the exports had increased by only 1.29 percent to $9.12 billion during five months (July to November) of the ongoing fiscal year.

In absolute terms, the export receipts had enhanced by $116 million in first five months of the current fiscal year over the corresponding period of the previous year, which is too meagre an increase in face of the huge currency depreciation.