Nawaz Sharif meets IMF's Lagarde, says Pak successfully tackling terror, economic challenges

Islamabad: On Monday Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that his country has achieved major successes in eliminating militancy and turning around the economy.

He stated this in a meeting with Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of International Monetary Fund (IMF) who called on him in Islamabad.

The prime minister said that the tireless efforts of the economic team of the government have "turned around the Pakistani economy" in a short span of three years.

"We are successfully delivering on the major challenges of terrorism, economy and power shortages that we inherited from the previous governments," he said.

He said Pakistan has dismantled the terrorists' networks and even presently 200,000 troops remained deployed in the northern part of our country to completely eliminate the menace of terrorism from the country.

"More than 24,000 precious human lives have been lost, about 50,000 wounded while our economy suffered a loss of USD 100 billion in this war against terrorism," he said.

 Nawaz Sharif meets IMFs Lagarde, says Pak successfully tackling terror, economic challenges

A file photo of Nawaz Sharif. AP

The prime minister said that though the situation is under control, but the armed forces are still working hard to dismantle the remaining hideouts of terrorists from the country.

He said that the government's ongoing endeavours include addressing energy shortfall at the earliest and improving the country's infrastructure and communication networks.

He said that the government was focussed on increasing the economic growth and then take it to the next level by ensuring the trickledown effect of the economic gains achieved by our government.

"We want to further reduce our expenditures, increase our exports and lower down the cost of production for our industrial and agriculture sectors," he said.

He said that his government is setting up power projects in hydel-power, coal, LNG and would be able to eliminate the power shortages from the country by the year 2018.

He further said that there is no load shedding for the industrial sector and the focus is on producing cheaper and affordable electricity.

"We are also committed to provide social protection to the poor and vulnerable people of our society for which our government has increased the budgetary allocation to BISP (Benazir Income Support Program) from Rs 40 to Rs 120 billion in the last three years. The poor families covered under this programme have been increased from 3 million to 5.6 million families," said Sharif.

Appreciating IMF's assistance for Pakistan's economic recovery and macroeconomic stability, the prime minister said that the present government has achieved economic stability by pursuing a comprehensive reforms agenda.

In response to a question, Sharif said that Pakistan is sincere to help in bringing stability to Afghanistan which is also in the interest of Pakistan.

"Peace and stability and Afghanistan would ensure peace in Pakistan and the region as well," said Sharif.

The prime minister further said that better management of the border with Afghanistan is also pro-actively pursued by Pakistan to safeguard the porous border.

Lagarde lauded the prime minister for steering the country out of multiple challenges and achieving macroeconomic stability in a short period of time.

She also noted the successful completion of the IMF programme which has helped Pakistan restore its macroeconomic stability, reduce vulnerabilities and make progress in tackling key structural challenges.

"It is a fantastic step in your journey that you have achieved a better and solid economic position in a brief period of two years," she said.

Lagarde said that completion of IMF programme reflects very positively on the country. She said Pakistan is now in a better fiscal position and certainly out of economic crisis.

She said that the economic growth has gradually increased; fiscal deficit has reduced while inflation has continuously declined in Pakistan. She also appreciated the country's strengthened social safety nets and tax policy and administration reforms.

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Updated Date: Oct 24, 2016 18:47:56 IST