ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Friday said that the government had given a new direction to the country’s foreign policy from geo-politics to geo-economics for the welfare of people.
“The country’s economy is now touching 5.37 per cent growth rate regardless of the contraction caused by Covid-19 to the international economies. According to a survey of the World Bank, our agriculture sector is growing by 3.3 per cent,” Qureshi said while speaking in the National Assembly.
He said the country’s exports and remittances were reaching record levels besides the statistics showed that per capita income was also increasing, Radio Pakistan reported.
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The foreign minister said regardless of the gas shortage, urea production had witnessed an increase. He said that the government was providing urea to the farmers at much lower rates than the international market. Qureshi said action would be taken against those hoarding the commodity.
He admitted that inflation posed a major challenge. However, FM said, there were several international factors behind it including an increase in the price of gas and petroleum products in global markets.
FM Qureshi said, “We welcome the criticism of the opposition parties but they should not spread despondency amongst the people as it is not in the interest of the country. We took painful decisions to stabilise the economy.”
Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar categorically stated that gas theft would not be tolerated in any part of the country.
Responding to a calling attention notice in the NA, he expressed satisfaction that the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited had significantly reduced its system losses from 12.5 per cent to 8.5 per cent over the last three years.
“There is a need to bring further improvement in the Sui Southern Gas Company Limited,” Azhar said and pointed out that the country’s gas reserves were depleting at the rate of nine per cent annually.
Azhar introduced before the house the Private Power and Infrastructure Board Amendment Bill, 2022.
The house today passed two resolutions extending the Diplomatic and Consular Officers (Oath and Fees) Amendment Ordinance 2021 and National Rehmatul Lil Alameen Authority Ordinance, 2021 for a further period of 120 days.
The Statement of Contingent Liabilities of the federal government for the current fiscal year was laid before the house. The annual reports of the Council of Islamic Ideology for the period from 2012-18 and the report on Islamic Law of Inheritance were also laid before the house.
The NA also adopted a motion, moved by FM Qureshi, allowing the use of its hall for the 48th session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers to be held in March.
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At the outset, the house offered fateha for those martyred in yesterday’s bomb blast in Lahore.
Ahsan Iqbal criticises economic policies
Pakistan Muslim League-N leader Ahsan Iqbal also criticised the government’s economic policies.
Responding to his points, Minister for Energy Azhar said that the Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf (PTI) government had steered the country out of a difficult economic situation. He said the previous government left behind a bankrupt economy.
Azhar said the government’s growth rate of about 5.4 per cent was based on enhanced exports and revenue collection, increase in foreign exchange reserves and reduction in current account deficit. He said the world institutions were appreciating the economic outlook of Pakistan.
The house was later prorogued.
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