Pakistan's finance advisor Abdul Hafeez Sheikh (Photo: REUTERS TV/via REUTERS)

Advisor to Pakistan prime minster on Finance Abdul Hafeez Sheikh on Saturday said the country’s economic health was improving with the government tackling the twin problems of fiscal and trade deficits.

Speaking to media persons here along with Chairman of Federal Bureau of Revenue Shabbar Zaidi, Sheikh said, “The trade deficit has been reduced by 35 per cent and fiscal deficit by 36 per cent in the first quarter of this year.”

Sheikh said there was a marked improvement in non-tax revenue collection in comparison to the previous fiscal.

“We have collected Rs 406 billion in non-tax revenue, a 140 per cent increase over the previous year,” he said.

Sheikh said the target for non-tax revenue collection for the current year was Rs 1,200 billion, but the government was expecting to collect Rs 1,600 billion.

The advisor said the Pakistani rupee had stabilised and net portfolio investment had increased by USD 340 million after three years.

He said the good health of the portfolio investments was visible in the stock market rising from 28,000 points level in August to 34,000 points recently.

Sheikh said exports were also picking up due to government assistance.

Responding to a question, FBR Chairman Zaidi said dialogue with the trading community was progressing positively and soon all issues of traders would be resolved.

Zaidi said the UAE government has agreed to provide details of properties owned by Pakistanis there, which is expected to help net black money.

Pakistan’s economy was in bad shape when the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government came to power in August 2018.

In July this year, the International Monetary Fund formally approved a USD 6 billion loan to Pakistan, which is facing significant economic challenges on the back of large fiscal and financial needs and weak and unbalanced growth.

Cash-strapped Pakistan has also received billions of dollars in financial aid packages from friendly countries like China, Saudi Arabia and the UAE in recent months.

(PTI)