ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Imran Khan Saturday held a meeting with his economic team to discuss country’s economic situation and prepare a comprehensive economic roadmap for further improvement.

The meeting, which lasted for three hours, was attended by Adviser on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Minister for Planning and Development Khusru Bakhtiar, Adviser on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, and other members of the economic team, PM Office Media Wing in a press release said.

Later, talking to the media, Adviser on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said meeting had three to four main objectives, including assessment of economic progress, reviewing performance of the important ministries like planning, commerce, agriculture, revenue and industry, and preparing an all focused roadmap.

He said the government wanted to accelerate progress on all major development projects with focus on economic stability, so that their benefits could reach the masses.

The government had allocated about Rs 950 billion budget for development programme and completion of major projects would benefit the common man, besides helping in jobs creation, he added.  The prime minister directed that all major projects should be monitored on continuous basis so that their benefits could be passed on to the masses, he said. Hafeez Shaikh said similarly, the government had also earmarked Rs 192 billion for weaker segments of society. It wanted that cash transfers like Sehat Insaf Cards and other relevant programmes should be accelerated so that the people should realize that government was taking all possible efforts for their economic well-being.

Hafeez said the government had also set aside Rs 262 billion for provision of subsidies and its major objective was to protect weaker segments from burden of cost of electricity and other items, and help the business community as well in reducing their costs.  All steps were being taken with a public focused approach, and for facilitation and increasing confidence of the business community, he added. 

The adviser said due to such policies, positive impacts were being felt as the stock market went up by 9 per cent in last week.  After a long time, he said, exports had increased in the month of July. The export sector was doing far better than last corresponding year.

He said the current account deficit gap between exports and imports had witnessed a marked reduction. The current account deficit, which stood around 2.1 billion dollars in July last year, had now reduced to below 600 million dollar in the same period this year.

Dr Hafeez said a comprehensive roadmap for economic development was being prepared, in which decisions for increasing performance of relevant ministries would be taken. To address issues like construction of dams or roads or to bring investment for the economic zones, important decisions would be taken under that roadmap.

He said it was decided that under the roadmap, the economic team would meet every week with the prime minister in chair to discuss further required actions.

He reiterated that government also wanted to extend subsidies to the business community in power and gas, besides easing loan facilities and lessening of revenue burden and all issues would be resolved by holding meetings with them.

He also announced that if oil prices were reduced internationally, the government was keen to pass on the benefit to the general public, and expressed the hope that such thing could be happening in the next month.