News Analysis: Pakistani gov't performs efficiently at multiple fronts: analysts

Source: Xinhua| 2018-11-30 15:27:41|Editor: xuxin
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by Jamil Bhatti

ISLAMABAD, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) -- Pakistani analysts said on Thursday that the country's government led by Prime Minister Imran Khan has performed cautiously and efficiently at multiple fronts in its first 100 days, but it is pretty that the government could not introduce any solid and comprehensive economic policies and mega development projects.

The federal government presented its first 100-day performance report on Thursday and vowed to pursue reforms in every field and introduce new policies to woo foreign investments to revitalize the economy and to focus on social welfare through its tenure till 2023.

According to the report, the government has achieved 18 out of 34 targets while the work is in progress on the other 16 projects.

Senior analyst and columnist on politics Imtiaz Alam said the financially crunched government has been working efficiently and it was first ever that a Pakistani government present its first 100-day performance report to the public.

Alam believed that 100 days are not enough to judge a government's performances and said the prime minister well focused on his targets, especially reforms, revitalization of the economy by pushing small and medium-sized enterprises and agriculture.

"The prime minister has highlighted several future plans, but we shall have to see how much they can do," said Alam, adding that "if they complete 50 percent of their plans, I think it would be a big success."

The 100-day performance report claimed that the government has laid a strong foundation in six major areas, including the transformation of the governance, strengthening the federation, revitalization of economic growth, uplift of agriculture and conserving water, revolutionizing of social service, and ensuring national security.

Meanwhile, pundits like Naeem Bukhari, chief executive of the Human Capital Management Institute, believed that the report claims too much, and the government still failed to provide solid and tangible progress, neither in the six major areas nor in other sectors.

"We saw a sharp rise in inflation, increase in gas and electricity rates by over 100 percent, devaluation of rupee against greenbacks by 8 percent, drop in foreign exchange reserves during the last three months," said Bukhari, who thought that the government could not present any solid economic policy or mega project or scheme.

Addressing the ceremony, the prime minister said they worked out to form new policies and conduct pilot projects to make a strategy for the remaining time of their five-year term.

To increase the country's revenue and strengthen the economic growth, Khan presented his plan to attract foreign investments by removing maximum hurdles in front of ease of doing business in Pakistan.

To support the country's industries, the government has already announced a support package of reduced taxes, bringing energy prices in alignment with regional competitors and clearing the backlog of refunds. The government has also introduced incentives for Pakistan's manufacturing industry to compete in international markets, boost exports and create jobs, which reportedly left positive effects on different industrial sectors.

The government is reportedly ready to introduce new tariff policy next month aiming at improving the competitiveness of the industrial sector by enabling access to raw materials and intermediate goods at international prices.

Bukhari, an academic and economist, hailed the support package and expected tariff policy, but raised questions over the government's decision to drop several development projects which, he feared, can pull back the country's development ambitions.

However, the economist said the ongoing and future projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor would provide a big support for the government to fulfill its future development and employment plans.

On the occasion, the country's Finance Minister Asad Umar presented an aspiring economic roadmap, saying that the government is trying to absorb foreign investment worth 6,000 billion Pakistani rupees (some 44.7 billion U.S. dollars) for the local economy in the next five years.

Saeed Chaudhry, director of Islamabad Council for International Affairs, said that the government has made a success in its anti-corruption campaign as they have arrested some important persons in graft cases and also unearthed some corruption scandals.

He also hailed the government's performance in the foreign affairs, especially by taking bold steps to improve relations with neighbors.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that his ministry has established 73 bilateral and 16 multilateral engagements during the period to improve ties with neighbors for a long-lasting regional peace and tranquility.

"Imran Khan's visit to China and Saudi Arabia are very encouraging and productive which will leave long-lasting positive impacts on the country's economic stability," said Chaudhry.

The professor believed that the prime minister's announcement to learn from China in the fields of agriculture, livestock and fisheries will bring quick and positive changes to the Pakistani sectors as the country's economy relies on agriculture.