ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Finance Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar has said that the present government has turned around the economy and all economic indicators are showing positive trends. He said that the government is giving peace a chance in country, adding that if the dialogues were failed then the military operation would be carried out. He said that the government was ready to pay any price for this purpose, adding that the government will not tolerate terrorism in country. He said all stake holders are on the same page regarding the restoration of law and order situation in country.
Giving an overview of government’s eight month performance in economic sector at a news conference in Islamabad on Wednesday‚ he said every promise made with the masses would be fulfilled, adding that all the economic targets would be achieved and no change would be made in this regard. He said that the overcoming economic crisis, energy crisis and terrorism and extremism are the priorities of the government. He said all big projects including Karachi motorway to be completed in next five years.
He said GDP has witnessed growth while decline in inflation has also been endorsed by various international financial institutions including the International Monetary Fund. Inflation level remained 8.6 percent while GDP remained 4.4 percent during the first eight months of the current fiscal year.
The Finance Minister said tax collection has witnessed a growth of 17.7 percent. We have collected 1348 billion rupees in the first eight months as compared to 1145 billion rupees collected in the corresponding period last year.
Budget deficit has been reduced to 3.1 percent as compared to 4.1 percent last year. Home remittances have also seen an upward trend with growth of eleven percent. Home remittances of 10.24 billion dollars have been received by 28th February as compared to 9.23 billion dollars received during the corresponding period last year.
Ishaq Dar said the exports surged to 16. 86 billion dollars in the first eight months as compared to 15.8 billion dollars last year.
About the appreciation of Pakistani rupee‚ the Finance Minister said this reflects the confidence of investors in Pakistani economy. He said a stable currency will have salutary impact on the economy of the country and prices of petroleum products are likely to come down as a result of the appreciation of the currency.
Ishaq Dar said stability in the currency rate will also help attract foreign direct investment which will lead to further strengthening of economy. He said there are also other positive signs of improvement in the economy as 2490 new firms have been registered with Security Exchange Commission of Pakistan during the last eight months as compared to 2166 registered in the corresponding period last year‚ which shows growth of eleven percent in this field.
The Finance Minister said it is expected that the government will be successful to achieve the target of four point five percent GDP growth rate as the latest results show that large scale manufacturing sector has registered 13.2 percent growth.
Ishaq Dar said the government is determined to give a boost to the agriculture sector and for this purpose State Bank of Pakistan has been asked to increase small agricultural loan limit from 336 to 380 billion rupees this year.
The Finance Minister said stock markets have also achieved an unprecedented growth of thirty seven percent which is a record in the national history. He said foreign exchange reserves have surged to 9.52 billion dollars and hopefully the target of ten billion rupees will be achieved by the end of this month.
He said market capitalization has also increased from 5.4 trillion rupees to 6.3 trillion rupees which shows twenty six percent increase and in dollar term it has been registered at eighteen percent.
He said famous Japanese financial institution Jetro has declared Pakistani business growth at number two in the world while another international financial institution has predicted that Pakistan will become 18th biggest economy of the world by 2050 if the pace of economic activities remained sustainable. However‚ he expressed the confidence the government will achieve this target by 2025 by ensuring good governance and transparency.
Ishaq Dar said fiscal deficit which is biggest evil has been decreased from eight point eight percent to eight percent and the government will bring it at six percent by the end of this fiscal year. He was confident that fiscal deficit will be brought at the level of four percent at the end of tenure of this government.