Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Abdul Hafeez Sheikh while briefing the Federal Cabinet on the status of economy and economic indicators during the first two years of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government, said the current account deficit has been brought down from $20 billion to only $3 billion. Briefing the media persons about decisions of cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz said the cabinet was informed by the finance advisor that the policy of encouraging exports and discouraging unnecessary imports had paid the dividends. Due to the government’s prudent economic policies, the foreign exchange reserves of State Bank of Pakistan have increased from $8.5 billion to $12.5 billion, he added. Under the Ehsaas programme, the minister said financial assistance was provided to some 15 million families in a transparent manner, while subsidy was given to the Utility Stores Corporation to ensure supply of daily use items at affordable prices. He said the present government has also given a historic package for the construction sector as the resumption of construction activities would create jobs and provide housing facilities to the poor. The government had also given relaxation on taxes to the builders to encourage investment in the housing units, he added. The minister said the economic wheel had begun to turn again and Rs 300 billion more tax revenue was collected than the target. He said with the resumption of economic activities, exports had increased and stock exchange shown growth which was an indication of economic stability. Exports reached $ 2 billion mark in the month of July during the current year against $ 1.2 billion in the past, he added. Shibli Faraz said the cabinet was given a briefing on the encroachments around the Margalla Road (Islamabad). It was told that during the past one and a half years, the Capital Development Authority had retrieved land worth Rs 450 billion. Similarly, the encroachments on Srinagar Highway had also been removed and trees were planted on the retrieved land, while the Quaid-e-Azam University’s land under illegal occupation of mafia was also recovered. He said the prime minister was informed that payments worth Rs 891 million had been made to the media houses whereas the remaining dues would be cleared at the earliest. Replying to the media persons’ questions, Shibli Faraz said the Sharif brothers would be would not be let off scot-free and held accountable for plundering the national exchequer and ruining the state institutions. The practice to make assets from the looted national wealth would have to be eliminated, he added. He said the past governments had rendered Pakistan economically bankrupt due to which the country was facing problems like price hike, flooding in Lahore or Karachi. Nowadays, he said, the opposition leaders were again getting together to save themselves from the ongoing accountability process. They had even tried to get an NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance) on the pretext of proposing an amendment in the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) law regarding the definition of corruption to their own advantage, he added. The minister criticized Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Maryam Nawaz for staging a drama to divert the public attention from the real issue and holding a news conference instead of replying to the questions asked by NAB regarding purchase of 1,100-kanal land. It was she, who once claimed that she did not own property in Pakistan what to talk of having property in England, he recalled.