Government determined to help people and businesses despite fiscal constraints: Advisor to PM

Avatar Written by Hamnah Khalid · 1 min read>

Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, on Wednesday, said that despite these COVID-ridden times, the government has come up with numerous strategies to help people and businesses across Pakistan with the financial help that they need.

The Advisor to the Prime Minister on Finance, in a virtual meeting with the ministers and governors of Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan and Pakistan (MENAP), said that whilst the coronavirus pandemic had hindered a considerable amount of work that the government of Pakistan had done, they remain determined to aid small businesses financially. He also pledged that the government of Pakistan was committed to providing employment and fighting inequality.

The government wants to continue economic reforms but there are two real challenges,” said Dr Hafeez. “Arranging funding for pro-poor expenditures and prioritizing the need for development spending. Incurring more expenditure to provide for the people at or below the poverty line will require more borrowing, as it will not be possible to increase taxes at a time of declining growth in the economy.

Dr Hafeez further went on to stress on the importance of being “friends” with other countries. He said that whatever the circumstances, there will always be a need to, engage with friends and development partners for technical advice and financial support purposes.”

During the meeting, the impact of the coronavirus on countries was also discussed. Participants agreed that the Coronavirus had revealed that health spending should be a bigger focus for all and that technological solutions to as many problems as possible needed to be found. They further remarked that because of this virus outbreak, most countries had lost a significant portion of their GDP and unemployment had skyrocketed; they all agreed that the second wave, if it comes along stronger than the first one, was bound to undo a lot of the hard work put in over the last few months if preventative and precautionary measures weren’t strongly enforced.

The Debt Suspension Initiative of the G-20 was commended during the meeting. It was concluded that if the population, especially the women and the youth of today, were to get by in these harsh times, new strategies would have to be set up to help them.