Underscoring the fact that the country was in a difficult economic situation, Finance Minister Miftah Ismael said on Tuesday that the coalition government had already taken some difficult steps and more were in the pipeline, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.
Speaking at a pre-budget conference in Islamabad, he said there would be further increase in the petroleum products’ (POL) prices. “When we took over, there was a budget deficit of Rs5, 600 billion,” Miftah said, adding, “Out of total Rs24, 000 billion borrowed by all the governments, the last government of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) had borrowed over Rs20, 000 billion.”
He claimed that 20 million people were pushed below poverty line under the PTI government, while six million were rendered jobless.
The finance minister also lashed out at the last government for announcing subsidy on the POL prices despite International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) insistence not to do so.
The finance minister said the government wanted to take all sectors of the economy along.
He claimed there was no mention of the word ‘gas’ in former prime minister Imran Khan’s talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow. “It was actually the word wheat (gandum) which was misconstrued as gas,” he added.
Miftah said it was heartening to see that not only businessmen and industrialists but the people belonging to the IT sector as well as farmers were also attending today’s event. “Together, we all have to pull the country out of the current crisis,” he said, adding, “Right now the situation demands us to be patient and cut down our expenditures.”
The minister said that Pakistan was ranked as the third highest ‘expensive’ country in the world under the PTI government.