Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Increasing electricity, gas’s prices not easy decision for any govt: Hammad

Increasing electricity, gas’s prices not easy decision for any govt: Hammad
ISLAMABAD (92 News) – Responding to PML-N leader Khawaja Asif’s points, Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar said after tackling the mess left behind the previous government, the PTI is looking to enter a higher growth phase in the next financial year. Speaking to the floor of National Assembly, the minister said that increasing the prices of electricity and gas is not an easy decision for any government to make. “Making decisions which lead to a rise in inflation or interest are difficult decisions. If we wish to have an informed discussion, these are hard decisions that are made during desperate times,” he maintained. He said that the government is striving to revive the country’s economy through tough and crucial decisions. He said due to prudent policies of the government, foreign exchange reserves are improving and current account deficit is shrinking. Hammad Azhar said government would bring down the circular debt to zero by December this year. He said the price of wheat has been stabilized in three provinces while efforts are being made to reduce it in Sindh. He also said fertilizer prices have already been decreased by three to four hundred rupees per bag. The economic affair minister stated that if things were going so well when the party was in power, why did they feel the need to turn towards the International Monetary Fund (IMF). “A healthy economy which is headed towards progress does not need a bailout,” he added. “Today, the IMF is telling us we have to clear the deficit they have left behind. By December 2020, we have to bring circular debt down to zero,” he explained. “The first wave of inflation came in Dec 2019 when the prices of onions and tomatoes skyrocketed but that was resolved. In January, the prices of wheat and flour increased but that situation has also been resolved in most cities,” he said. He relented that the price of sugar is still high due to a shortfall of the crop, adding that the government is working on resolving the issue. “When we were elected into power, we had warned that we will have to suffer through a tough two-year period. However, we can expect to move towards a higher growth trajectory in the next financial year,” he added. Earlier, Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) leader Khawaja Asif said that the government has made the country a ‘shelter’ for thieves of wheat and sugar. Speaking to the floor of National Assembly (NA), the PML-N lawmaker said that the country’s current rulers have made the country a shelter for those involved in the wheat and sugar shortage. “Those benefiting the most from the current situation are within the government or are associated with them in some manner,” he added.
Criticisizing the government and its officials for failing to take any measures to tackle inflation, Khawaja Asif said Tuesday the PTI-led government has turned Pakistan into a refuge for the wheat and sugar mafias. “Not only has the cost of electricity risen, but corruption, instead of decreasing, has increased manifold,” the parliamentary leader maintained. “Opposition does not try to topple the government within the period of one and half years and will not make any conspiracy against the incumbent government in future. The time is changing and this ‘Pehalwan’ [wrestler] will fall himself,” Khawaja Asif mentioned.
Uproar in NA
The treasury and the opposition locked horns during a session of the National Assembly as the rise in inflation during the current government’s tenure was put up for discussion.