Opposition slams, government defends policies in National Assembly – Pakistan


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ISLAMABAD: The opposition and Treasury benches in the National Assembly were blocked in a debate on Friday, with the opposition attacking the government for following “flawed economic policies” and the latter defending them.

The devaluation of the Pakistani rupee against the US dollar remained a key point during the debate, which continued into Question Time and beyond.

Khawaja Mohammad Asif, the PML-N House leader in the National Assembly, criticized the governor of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) for his recent remarks that the devaluation of the rupee had benefited six to seven million Pakistanis abroad.

Stressing that the SBP governor did not mention what would happen to 220 million people living in the country, Asif said it was a purely political statement that should not have been made by an official in charge of monetary policy.

Asif denounces SBP governor’s remarks on rupee depreciation

He said Prime Minister Imran Khan officially declared that the devaluation of the rupee against the dollar added billions to the national debt. The former defense minister noted that the volume of external debt has increased dramatically due to reckless fiscal policies.

He said the SBP governor was summoned to the Public Accounts Committee where he refused to release the names of the $ 3 billion recipients who “landed in Pakistan and then were sent to another destination.”

MP PML-N said some people were allowed to make huge profits at an interest rate of over 13% before the money went overseas again.

“‘It’s a secret,’ was the response of the SBP governor when asked who the money belonged to,” Asif said.

“These people are liquidators sent by the International Monetary Fund. Their task is to ruin the economy as was done in Egypt, ”he said. “These people who want Pakistan to go bankrupt with their monetary policy are not accountable to anyone and will leave the country after they have done their job.”

The Prime Minister’s adviser for parliamentary affairs, Babar Awan, rose to respond, but could not, as Syed Naveed Qamar of the PPP pointed out. After a count was made and the house was not found to be in order, the President adjourned the meeting.

Earlier in Question Time, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Mohammad Khan said that in the first four years of the last tenure of the ruling PML-N, the Minister of Finance of the ruling PML-N At the time, Ishaq Dar had adopted the policy of artificially controlling the rupee-dollar parity by borrowing from the SBP.

He said the policy was reversed when Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was prime minister and Miftah Ismael minister of finance. “We have only refined the flexible market-based exchange rate policy.”

Economic Affairs Minister Omar Ayub said the PML-N government secured a $ 23.6 billion deficit financing loan. Previously, Pakistan spent $ 5 billion on debt repayment each year, which has soared to over $ 9 billion.

He said the PML-N government had left sufficient foreign exchange reserves for only two weeks. He accused the PML-N of destroying the economy.

Meanwhile, the house learned that the value of the rupee had depreciated against the dollar during the current fiscal year, from Rs 157.54 at the end of June to Rs 172.78 as of October 18, reflecting a 8.8% depreciation.

The house was informed that since May 2019 Pakistan has adopted a flexible market-based exchange rate system in which the exchange rate is determined by the conditions of supply and demand of the market and the trend exchange rate generally reflected the position of the external balance of payments. from the country.

Qaisar Ahmed Shaikh, a PML-N lawmaker, alleged that by increasing the dollar rate from Rs 120 to Rs 175, the government had wreaked havoc on the national economy.

He said it was the first time that the country’s imports were three times higher than its exports, but the government was calling for an increase in exports.

Parliamentary Trade Secretary Aliya Hamza Malik, dismissing opposition criticism, said the economy was heading in the right direction.

She said imports had increased due to the import of spare parts for the country’s automotive and computer industries as well as equipment for the Covid-19 vaccination.

She said exports crossed the $ 25 billion figure last year due to careful government policies.

She said gas prices had been rationalized for export-oriented sectors.

A 50% reduction in the electricity tariff for small and medium-sized businesses has been granted until June of this year.

Posted in Dawn, le 23 October 2021

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