In response to the pre-budget seminar held by PML-N, Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin held a press briefing to answer the questions raised by the opposition party. The minister was joined by Federal Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar and Federal Minister for Industries and Production Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar. PML-N in their seminar pointed out that during the PML-N government growth rate increased from 3.7% to 5.8% while the PTI government brought it down to -0.5%. The finance minister clarified that PML-N’s growth rates were artificial and the growth was due to the excessive debts accumulated by the then government which led Pakistan to almost default. He said that these loans allowed for the overvaluation of the rupee which led to a Rs20 billion deficit. Hammad Azhar added that when the previous government handed over the reins to the incumbent PTI government, “they knew and accepted that the new government will have to go to the IMF, if the economy was doing so well then why did they say so?” He said that during the last 17 months of the PML-N government foreign reserves substantially decreased because the exchange rate was being artificially kept low. He said that exports were at a dismally low level, while poverty was at an all-time high. Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar added that “PML-N’s figures of growth were all built on loans and by the end of their term Pakistan was about to default.” PML-N said that unemployment has substantially increased since the PTI took over. To this allegation, Hammad Azhar commented, “From which bureau is this party taking the numbers from? Which formula are they using? If these numbers are credible, why are they not citing their source?” He said that the PTI government has indeed created jobs and does plan to create more in the following years. Tarin seconded him when he said that the PTI government believes in sustainable and stable growth. “Our focus is on stability and sustainability. We plan to have inclusive growth. We will not wait for the trickle-down effect to take place, we have a bottoms-up approach which allows for inclusive growth to take place.” When asked about what measures the government is thinking of taking, the finance minister said that the PTI government has enhanced the tax base, a clear increase in remittances can be seen and the current account deficit has also significantly decreased. The ministers agreed that inflation is at a high level and the public is going through a difficult time. However, in the government’s defence, they argued that due to the previous government’s negligence the PTI government had to go to the IMF again. This time they said that the IMF imposed harsh conditionalities which forced the government to devalue the currency. Moreover, demand was also to be decreased, and when demand decreases it is inevitable for the economy to slow down. Mentioning their government’s plans for the future, Shaukat Tarin stated, “we will give jobs to people, we will provide housing to the poor and we will give them technical training so that we can have a bottoms-up growth in the economy. By 2023 our growth rate will be nearing 6%” The ministers also stressed upon the use of technology for the betterment of the economy. They said that the retail sector will be promoted and by the end of PTI’s term Pakistan will be on the road towards inclusive growth and sustainable development.