The PTI-led government on Thursday strongly reacted to the claims made by the PML-N leaders at a pre-budget seminar, asserting that the current economic situation being faced by the country is the result of wrong policies of the last PML-N government, which has caused a loss of $20 billion. Addressing a virtual press conference, Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin said the current government inherited an economy in a shambles, with high inflation and massive circular debt due to bad decisions of the PML-N regime. Minister for Energy and Petroleum Hammad Azhar and Minister for Industries and Production Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar also accompanied the finance minister. Tarin said the government had to approach the International Monetary Fund to support the deteriorated economy and accept tough conditions such as high power tariffs. However, now the government’s focus is on providing relief to the masses in the upcoming budget 2021-22 and that is why it was conveyed to the IMF in recent talks that the electricity and gas prices would not be increased, he added. He said former finance minister Miftah Ismail of the PML-N, during his tenure, had raised the petroleum development levy up to Rs 30, while the present government had reduced it by Rs 2 to 3. Today the circular debt is declining and the government would take more steps to further reduce it, he added. The minister said it is the government’s top priority to alleviate poverty, by promoting skills development practices among 4 million families, besides providing them housing facilities and health cards. He said the last PML-N government had shown artificial economic growth by borrowing heavily in the country’s history. It also increased revenue growth by only 2.5 percent, he added. Contrarily, he said, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government increased revenue by 20 percent in every fiscal year and would take it to Rs 7,000 billion in the coming years. Tarin said the fiscal year 2021-22 would be a year of growth not only for the country but also for the deprived classes of society as it would encompass provision of better facilities of education, health and employment. Speaking on the occasion, Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar said statistics presented regarding poverty by the PML-N leaders were totally incorrect. He said the current account deficit had surged to record level, while exports had also declined during their government. He said the opposition could not digest the current economic growth and presented false statistics. The minister conceded that there was inflation, saying the government was making all-out efforts to control it. Today the economy was on the right track owing to the better policies of the PTI government. The foreign reserves were continuously increasing while exports, tax revenue and large scale manufacturing had also witnessed an upward trend. About 4 percent economic growth would be achieved during the current fiscal year, he hoped. Minister for Industries and Production Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar said the PML-N regime had left behind a fragile economy with huge foreign loans, which had to be returned by the incumbent PTI government. The PML-N government had artificially stabled the rupee, he added. Khusro said the national economy was now improving and strengthening due to the prudent policies of government under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan. The minister said the government’s full focus on sustainable economic growth through prudent policies. Agriculture and construction sectors had witnessed record growth. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate would hopefully touch 4.8 percent during the current fiscal year, he added. Separately, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain Thursday said the opposition was in a fix on every issue being confronted by the country. In a tweet, he said the bewildered opposition on the one hand was boasting not to allow upcoming budget approved and on the other hand it was holding seminars on it. He said the government would definitely consider the practical suggestions of the opposition. “If the opposition comes to the parliament and fulfills its constitutional obligations, including electoral reforms, it will be very pleasing,” he said.