Prime Minister Imran Khan Friday said despite the 2018 worst balance of payment crisis, economic problems due to Covid-19, high commodity prices in international market and direct and indirect impact of humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, Pakistan was expected to achieve over four percent economic growth – which was a major success. “Since we inherited a huge circular debt, ant-export policies, unstable financial conditions, less-competitive business environment and the policies of lower incentives for private sector, the present government’s three years are an economic success story,” he added. He expressed these views while presiding over a meeting of the Macroeconomic Advisory Group in Islamabad. The meeting was attended by federal ministers Shaukat Tarin, Hammad Azhar, Ch. Fawad Hussain, Asad Umar, Khusro Bakhtiar, Syed Fakhar Imam, Minister of State Farrukh Habib, Advisor to PM Abdul Razzak Dawood, Special Assistants to PM Dr. Sania Nishtar, Dr. Shehbaz Gill, Governor State Bank Reza Baqir and senior officials concerned. The prime minister said compared to other countries of the region, Pakistan demonstrated exceptional performance in confronting the Covid-19. He said the government’s policy of smart lockdowns, incentives for construction industry, social protection program and subsidy for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) helped move the economy forward on sustainable pace – a fact also appreciated by analysts at global level. During the meeting, a comprehensive review of the country’s overall economy situation, government’s steps to minimize the impact of increase in the price of essential items and the government’s economic achievements over the last three years was presented. The meeting was told owing to the strong measures taken for economic stabilization after successfully coming out of the fiscal crisis inherited from the previous government, Pakistan compared to other regional countries realized more economic progress even during the COVID-19 situation. It was told that with 25 percent growth in exports and the highest ever 38 percent increase in tax revenue, the country also recorded an increase of 27 percent in remittances. Moreover, the meeting was informed that with record incomes in agriculture sector – transfer of an additional income of Rs1100 billion to farmers, record Rs900 billion profit in industrial sector, development of Information Technology (IT) sector due to government’s policy and after the successful tariff negotiations with Independent Power Producers (IPPs), a downslide has also been witnessed in the monthly [power] circular debt. In addition to the above, the government fulfilled its promise of a welfare state by launching the biggest social safety program under Ehsaas, brought institutional reforms and successfully complied with Financial Action Task Force (FATF’s) conditions which saved the country from going into the blacklist. The meeting was also presented with proposals to mitigate the transfer of the effects of high global commodity prices to common people. The proposals included an increase in incomes, purchasing power of the people, subsidies focused on middle and lower income classes and expansion of social safety net. The prime minister directed the departments concerned to coordinate and implement long-term and short-term plans for further betterment of both macroeconomic condition of the county and improvement in economic condition of the people. Meanwhile, Imran Khan Friday said the government was focused on supply of suitable amount of fertilizer for maximum production of wheat to ensure food security in the country. He was chairing a meeting on demand and supply of fertilizer, especially of urea in the country. He said 25,000 tonnes of urea was produced in Pakistan every day, which was enough to meet needs of the agriculture sector. He warned those who were creating artificial shortage of urea would be dealt with iron hands. He noted that record bumper crops of wheat, sugarcane, cotton and maize were produced in the country last year. Due to agriculture friendly policies of the government during the year 2020-2021, the farmers earned additional income of Rs 822 billion, he added. The farmers increased the purchase of urea due to the income earned by them, he observed. He said the availability of urea for farmers especially during the next three weeks was very important to achieve bumper crop of wheat. The prime minister directed the relevant officials to take all possible steps to put in place an effective supply chain of urea for the Rabi crops. He instructed the provincial chief secretaries to take effective steps to stop hoarding and smuggling of fertilizer, through the district administration and end purchase of fertilizer through the middlemen outside of the normal supply chain. He directed the officials to work together with all stakeholders including manufacturers of fertilizer so that supply of urea could be ensured to the farmers for a bumper crop of wheat this year.