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Pakistan fared ‘relatively better’ amid global price hike: PM

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday said that Pakistan had comparatively managed “much better” than other countries amid an unprecedented price hike of commodities caused by COVID-19 lockdowns.

In a statement on Twitter, the premier said that an unprecedented rise in commodity prices internationally had adversely affected most countries in the world as a result of the COVID-19 lockdowns.

He added, however, that “Pakistan MashaAllah has fared relatively much better”. The prime minister also shared a video clip of Finance Ministry Spokesperson Muzammil Aslam who rubbished the notions of Pakistan’s dwindling economy.

Quoting data by the Food and Agriculture Organisation, he said that from September to October this year, food prices increased by 1.9%, World Cereal Index by 3.2%, edible oil prices by 9.6%, and dairy products by 2.6%.

However, he said that despite the worldwide inflation trend, Pakistan’s exports recorded an increase of 17% in October and are likely to touch the $30 billion mark this year. Textile exports are expected to reach $22 billion this year.

He said consequent to the government’s timely measures, the non-oil imports of the country reduced by 12.5% last month making a difference of $750 million. He said that due to increasing income, tax collection also surged with a 32% increase in four months, resulting in the government receiving an additional Rs151 billion compared to last year.

He said according to the latest data, the country’s cotton crop increased by 81% during the last four months. In August, the industry recorded a growth of over 12% and companies’ profits by 21%.

“All this shows that the country’s economy is heading fast and employment would be required in the coming days,” the spokesperson commented. Addressing a question about any relief for the middle class in the PM’s recently announced Rs120 billion relief package, he said the government had already announced a concession of Rs5-7 on every electricity unit to be consumed more than the previous year’s consumption during November to February.

Moreover, he said the sugar prices would fall in the near future owing to record sugarcane crop.

“All these things will appear on ground in the coming days,” he remarked. He said the prices of oil, gas and edible oil were not in the government’s control; however owing to the record crops this year, Pakistan will emerge from a food deficit to a food surplus country.

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