Advisor to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue, Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said Tuesday that economy of the country had picked up as indicated by the performance of both external as well as internal economic sectors. “Good news are coming about economy,” the advisor said during a media briefing here along with Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz. The advisor said that on internal front, the large scale manufacturing had witnessed around 5% growth after a long time, with cement sales increasing up to 20 million tons while there had been considerable growth in products of automobiles and fertilizers. He said the exports from the country are increasing while the textile sector had received export orders up to December. In addition, the rupee has stabilized and in fact has enhanced its value while the foreign exchange reserves held by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has risen up to $13 billion. On fiscal side, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has collected Rs 1340 billion revenues in four months, which is more than the actual target earmarked for the period. In addition, the board issued refunds of Rs 128 billion during the four months against the refunds of Rs 50 billion during the same period of last year while the total refunds during the last fiscal year stood at Rs 248 billion. He said that the government had reduced its expenditures while there are no borrowings from the SBP while no supplementary grant was issued. The advisor said although the Covid-19 pandemic had affected the government’s achievements but it successfully managed to bring the economy out of crisis which was evident from the fact that the whole world was praising Pakistan’s way of managing Covid-19. He informed that the government inherited a huge current account deficit which was exceeding $20 billion and the current government brought down the deficit to $3 billion in first year and now even it had turned to surplus of over $792 million. “This issue has been controlled completely now,” he added. With respect to the domestic economic situation, the advisor explained that as contrary to the past, the governments income was more than its expenditures due to which it was not borrowing from the central bank. He said the PTI government had to pay Rs 5000 billion as interest on the loans taken by the previous governments. He further explained that during four months of current fiscal year, the government’s debt did not increase and remained at the level of Rs 36.4 trillion which was same by end of June 2020. “This is clear proof of maintaining fiscal discipline by the government,” he added. He maintained that the SBP reserves were also touching $13 billion mark that was encouraging sign. Besides, he said the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) had refunded a record Rs 128 billion during first four months of current fiscal year which was a 100 percent increase as compared to the same period of last year. Similarly, he said during last fiscal year the FBR had cleared the refunds of Rs 248 billion. Shibli Faraz said the economy is improving despite difficulties because of the coronavirus and the opposition’s attempts to create hindrances in the way of the government. He said there was a good feel factor in the market as the economy’s basic indicators are improving. The stock exchange was performing well, the foreign direct investment was increasing and the large scale manufacturing was on the rise, he added. The minister said the improving economy had a positive effect on the lives of the people as it would create more jobs and bring prosperity. The economy was badly affected by the coronavirus pandemic but in spite of the difficulties the government took measures to bring financial stability. Shibli clarified that there was no shortage of wheat as 1.9 million tonnes of imported commodity was on the way while there were reserves of one million tonnes. More imported wheat would reach the country by February and then with harvesting of the new crop it would will be in surplus, he added.