ISLAMABAD: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh said that financial and trade deficit of the country is decreasing, while global organizations are also acknowledging Pakistan’s economic growth. Speaking at a press conference with Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Chairman Syed Shabbar Zaidi, Hafeez Sheikh expressed that the economy has improved markedly this fiscal year. “The current account deficit is decreasing,” he said, adding that last year‘s current account deficit was reduced by 35%. He apprised that the current account deficit for the first time surged in October. Financial Advisor said that global institutions like the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, Moody‘s and the Asian Development Bank have hailed the economic growth of the country. He added that Bloomberg recognized the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) and Moody’s improved Pakistan’s rating from negative to stable. He said that the country‘s exports are increasing while foreign investment is also on surge. “Last month, Pakistani exports increased by 10% while foreign investment increased by almost 236%”, he asserted, adding that PSX has crossed 40,000 points. Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday directed the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to simplify its system for payment of refunds so that exporters, especially small and medium-sized ones, do not face any difficulty in recovering dues. Reviewing the overall progress of his economic team, the premier noted that despite difficult conditions the government measures have resulted in economic stability and the confidence of the business community has increased. “In order to strengthen the confidence of the business community as a result of economic stability, it is necessary to provide all possible facilities to exporters and especially small- and medium-sized traders so that they could be encouraged and do not suffer financially,” he added. The meeting reviewed economic situation in the country, progress on pending cases related to FBR in high courts, payment of tax refunds of exporters, status of Turkmenistan Afghanistan Pakistan India (TAPI) gas pipeline project and non-tax revenue. A separate briefing was given PM Khan on the progress of development projects. The meeting was informed that exports registered an increase in terms of volume and income for the July-November period. The prime minister expressed his satisfaction over the positive trend. Attorney General Anwar Mansoor briefed the meeting on pending FBR cases in courts. He said 551 of the 1,089 FBR cases have been decided in Supreme Court while 285 cases were still pending. The prime minister directed the attorney general to expedite efforts for the resolution of pending cases. He said all resources needed would be provided to the Attorney General’s Office to effectively put the government’s perspective in FBR-related cases. PM Khan said expeditious resolution of the cases will solve problems of the business community. Assistant Special to the Prime Minister for Petroleum Nadeem Babar briefed the participants on the progress of the TAPI gas pipeline. Secretary treasury briefed the meeting on the increase in non-tax revenue. The prime minister lauded efforts to increase non-tax revenue. In order to monitor the implementation of development projects and to monitor their progress regularly, the secretary said the first quarterly review of the development projects was conducted on October 21 and November 1. To ensure timely implementation and uninterrupted flow, he said the mid-year review of development projects will be carried out in January 2020 and the annual review will be done in August. “At the same time, there is a monthly review of development projects under the direction of the prime minister, in which ground and financial progress are also being regularly reviewed,” he added. The official said an online system was being launched to monitor the progress of development projects and that the entire system was being digitised. “In addition, satellite monitoring is being done to monitor the speed of these projects in remote areas,” he added. Former finance minister Shaukat Tareen briefed the meeting on the progress of the launch of “Food Bank” in Lahore. The prime minister appreciated the initiative to provide food to the deserving people at their doorstep and said that the government will provide all possible facilities for the success of the project. The prime minister said economic stability and creating jobs for youth and skilled workers was the top priority of the government. He said out-of-box thinking and suggestions should be offered for this purpose. The prime minister further stressed that said special attention should be given to further improving the coordination between the inter-ministerial and the departments. The meeting was attended by ministers, advisers and special assistants to the prime minister.