ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Tuesday said democracy was moving forward smoothly.

Abbasi, while addressing the meeting of the federal cabinet here said the government aimed to complete all the goals set by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in 2013.

A cabinet member, who attended the meeting, told The Nation that the prime minister asked his team to concentrate on the development of the country instead of giving importance to the agitators.

“The PM also asked the ministers to remain in contact with the people as the general elections were around the corner,” he said, quoting the premier.

In his address, Abbasi said the country’s economy had been moving upwards steadily since 2013 when the PML-N led government took over.

He said that renowned international ratings organisations had recognised the upward economic growth of Pakistan despite internal and external challenges.

The cabinet informed that the country has achieved a stabilised economy and the economic growth has brought down inflation, said an official statement.

Finance Secretary Shahid Mahmood briefed the cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Abbasi, on the overall state of country’s economy.

He provided a detailed briefing on the overall economic situation of the country, including key economic indicators, economic growth outlook, real sector growth performance, consumer price index, credit situation, fiscal consolidation, tax collection by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), workers’ remittances, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), foreign exchange reserves, balance of payments, public debt and significant developments in Pakistan’s economy.

It was apprised that during FY 2016-2017 the GDP recorded an increased growth of 5.3 percent, large-scale manufacturing achieved 5.6 percent growth, per capita income increased to $1,629 from $1,334 in FY 2012-2013, remittances increased to $19.3 billion, the FBR collected Rs3,362 billion, fiscal deficit has been reduced by 5.8 percent as percentage of the GDP, 8,286 new companies were registered, forex reserves increased to $21.4 billion and the FDI witnessed increase of $2.4 billion in FY 2016-2017.

The secretary said the interest rates were the lowest in decades, while credit to private sector has touched historic highs.

He said the fiscal deficit had been reduced, while the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) and social safety spending has continued to rise.

The cabinet was informed that the reform agenda focused on improving governance and fiscal sustainability, the statement said.

The cabinet also approved several agenda items including amendments to the guidelines of prime minister’s global Sustainable Development Goals Achievement Programme and amendments to the Rules of Business 1973.

This would include reorganisation of the Federal Secretariat by constituting new ministries, divisions besides bifurcating of some existing ministries and divisions.

The cabinet also approved amendment in the Rules of Business 1973 regarding authorising minister in-charge for initiation of negotiations.

The cabinet appreciated Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and the Finance Division for their efforts, which had resulted in positive economic turnaround since 2013.