Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa attended a seminar at Institute of Strategic Studies, Research and Analysis (ISSRA) at National Defence University (NDU) in Islamabad, tilted as ‘Pakistan’s Economy: Challenges and Way Forward’.
Speaking to the participants, he stated that sovereignty is not possible without economic stability. Everyone needs to perform their duties so that the government can achieve the set targets to heal the struggling economy of the country. “We understand that the government has gone for difficult but quintessential decisions for long-term benefits and what we’re doing is playing our part,” he said.
Commenting on the regional peace Gen. Bajwa mentioned the efforts that Pakistan has put in to restore the peace and to promote the trade integration. He said, “Countries cannot develop individually, it is the region which develops. For our region to develop we need to have greater regional connectivity among all neighbors,”
He added that the military has also implemented austerity measures to get in line with the economic challenges. Prior to the budget announcement, the military had announced to forgo the expected increment in the annual budget for the fiscal year 2019-2020. “The armed forces played their part by voluntarily foregoing annual increase in the defense budget and this is not the only step we are taking for the improvement of the economy”, he said.
The seminar was attended by various economists and it discussed ways of overcoming the budget deficit, low tax collection base, circular debt, loss-ridden public sector enterprises, fiscal indiscipline, undocumented economy, weak institutional capacity, low exports, meeting federal obligations within existing NFC arrangements, etc. Participants included Chairman FBR Shabbar Zaidi, President Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry Almas Haider, Adviser to CM Punjab Dr. Salman Shah, Director IBA Dr. Farrukh Iqbal, ED Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) Dr. Abid Qaiyum Suleri and others.