Islamabad - A high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday was informed that economic policies of the government were heading in positive direction with considerable reduction in the trade deficit; increase in exports and tax collection.

A statement issued by the Prime Minister office stated that besides considerable growth in exports; improvement in tax collection; widening of tax net and increasing trend in trade activity, the trade deficit had reduced by 38 percent during the first two months of the current fiscal.

Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minister Imran Khan emphasised that economic stability and facilitating the business community was top priority of the government. He directed various ministries to devise a clear mechanism based on timeline to achieve quarterly targets and accomplishments.

He also called for presenting out-of-box solutions and proposals to improve the economy and to make consultations with all stakeholders in order to start implementing the workable suggestions.

Imran said baseless propaganda against the economy should be rebutted with complete facts so that people have a clear picture of the past situation and current improvements. Referring to importance of agriculture in the national economy and the steps taken by the government to revolutionise the sector, the Prime Minister said that the government had rolled out a detailed policy for promotion of all areas of agriculture.

He said that need of the hour was to apprise the people of this policy and all the related steps for their benefit.

Imran said that promotion of small and medium enterprises was among the priorities of the government.

He said that special attention should be paid on revival of plants and sick units that were closed due to mismanagement and financial problems of the past.

He called for a vibrant role of CIRC and improving the coordination between all stakeholders including National Bank, State Bank and other institutions to devise a course of action for the revival of sick units.

Referring to steps taken by the government for promotion of construction sector, the Prime Minister said that the proposal to declare the construction sector an industry and the imposition of fixed tax on construction activities in the large cities was being finalised in order to remove obstacles in this regard.

He directed Chairman Naya Pakistan Housing Authority to also consider a proposal for a financial incentives package to promote the construction of apartments and encouraging investment in this area.

The government team gave a comprehensive briefing to the Prime Minister on steps taken for the improvement and stability of economy and their impacts.

The meeting was informed that positive results had been witnessed as a result of measures taken by the government including increase in exports; 38 percent decrease in trade deficit in first two months of the current fiscal year; improved tax collection; increased tax net and acceleration in private business activities.

Chairman FBR apprised the Prime Minister that tax collection had significantly been improved in recent months. The Prime Minister appreciated the performance of the Chairman FBR.

Minister for Planning and Development briefed the meeting on progress relating to implementation of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project.

The Prime Minister while expressing satisfaction on implementation of CPEC said that the project was not only a reflection of Pak-China friendship but it would have positive impacts on national and regional economy.

Governor State Bank while giving a briefing to the meeting said that during meetings with exporters, they had not only expressed full confidence in the government policies but also presented various proposals for export-related industry which are being considered.

Finance Secretary apprised the meeting that Special Secretary Finance Omar Hamid Khan had been assigned the responsibility of spokesperson for important ministries relating to economy and a media cell had been set up at Ministry of Finance for this purpose.

The Prime Minister directed to play a vibrant role for dissemination of information about economy so that people are protected against wrong information spread by misleading elements.

The meeting was attended by Minister for Economic Affairs Hamad Azhar, Minister for Planning Khusro Bakhtiar, Advisor on Finance Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Advisor on Institutional Reforms Dr Ishrat Hussain, special assistants Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan and Yousuf Baig Mirza, State Bank governor, chairmen Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), Board of Investment, Naya Pakistan Housing Authority and Ehsaas Programme, and senior officers of other departments.

Meanwhile, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Azam Khan Swati also called on Prime Minister Imran Khan and briefed him about the performance of his ministry.