The National Assembly on Thursday was informed that Pakistan’s exports are increasing by 13.4 per cent and have reached $21 billion during the first 10 months of the current fiscal year, according to Radio Pakistan.

The session resumed at the Parliament House in Islamabad with Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri in the chair. The house was informed that the government has decided to import wheat and sugar to avoid shortage and price hike.

Responding to a query during the question hour, Parliamentary Secretary for Finance Zain Hussain Qureshi said 4 million metric tonnes of wheat and a sufficient quantity of sugar will be imported to maintain strategic reserves of the commodities.

Read: Evolving trend in Pakistan’s trade

Answering another question, Parliamentary Secretary for Commerce Aliya Hamza Malik said Pakistan’s exports are increasing by 13.4 per cent and have reached $21 billion during the first 10 months of the current fiscal year, which is unprecedented in the history of Pakistan. She expressed the hope that the exports will touch the mark of $25 billion in the coming days.

Regarding price hike in the country, Aliya said that rising inflation has been observed across the world because of supply and demand disruption due to the pandemic. She said that Iran recorded inflation at 49.5 per cent and Turkey 17.1 per cent, while Pakistan witnessed a price hike of just 8.6 per cent during the fiscal year.

Replying to a question, Parliamentary Secretary for Planning, Development, and Reform Kanwal Shauzab said investments under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is expected to be around $50.7 billion.

Read more: Pakistan’s exports fail to pick up

She said this huge inflow of investment will generate massive economic activities as well as employment opportunities. She said apart from focusing on energy, infrastructure and Gwadar projects, nine Special Economic Zones will be established under CPEC.

Kanwal said the ML-1 project, which will upgrade and dualise the rail track from Peshawar to Karachi, has the potential to create 174,000 direct jobs.

Answering another question, Zain Qureshi said the government is taking steps to transform the banking system into Shariah-compliant banking. He said 3,456 branches and over 1,000 windows are offering Islamic banking across Pakistan.

Zain said the State Bank of Pakistan has made it mandatory for commercial banks to reserve 10 per cent of loans for small and medium enterprises and eight per cent for the agricultural sector interest-free.

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