Economic direction of country positive, says Ishaq Dar

April 05, 2014

ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar on Friday said the economic direction of the country remained positive and the multilateral donors have placed more confidence on Pakistan.

International Monetary Fund (IMF) has revised its growth targets and we are going for World Bank Islamic Development Bank (WB IDA) programme, which otherwise will lapse in June 2014,he added.In an interview with Jamie Robertson for Business Edition on British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) World News Dar said, “We have a three year macro-economic stability programme and the targets are very clear”. We are going to bring down the fiscal deficit, which we call the mother of all evils, from 8 percent to 6.3 percent this year, he added. He said the next year our target would be 5 and then 4, which was considered normal around the world.

He stressed the government has undertaken numerous reforms and stabilisation measures and this was the reason the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Islamic Development Bank, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), International Finance Corporation (IFC) and everybody was back in business with Pakistan after three years.Finance Minister said Pakistan was dealing with the security issue and the PML (N) government was elected on a manifesto of dealing with four Es- Economy, Energy and Education and to deal with Extremism.

He said our next five years plan with the WB viz Country Strategy Partnership would be revolving around these four Es. He said we have drastically cut our current expenditure for the fiscal year 2013-14 and we have increased our allocations in social sector including social safety net and Public Sector Development Programmes (PSDP). He said we have almost doubled our expenditure on social safety net in the current budget and we intended to do more in future.On infrastructure development in Pakistan, we prefer the BOT basis.

On energy sector we have agreed upon upfront tariffs without any confusion and waste of time.Finance Minister said the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) was totally misunderstood. He emphasised CSF was not assistance but it was the reimbursement of expenses incurred by Pakistan on dealing with terrorism. We prefer trade and investment with the international community and we would like to build our international relations on the basis of trade, investment and self-reliance.

On opening up trade with India, he Minister said the government was very clear on promoting regional trade with South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation countries. Our government is actively engaged with India for the last ten months and we have almost finalised everything.

We do not want to be seen as a country supporting any political party in Indian elections therefore, we will make a decision after Indian elections. Courtesy Daily Times

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