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Economy top priority, steps taken to end energy crisis: PM

Economy top priority, steps taken to end energy crisis: PM

lonISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said that the government is working to overcome energy crisis‚ which has crippled economy and social life of the people. The Prime Minister said the government has devised a comprehensive long and short-term policy in this regard.

Addressing the federal cabinet meeting here on Wednesday, Nawaz Sharif said that revival of economy is the top most priority of the government and it is working on a comprehensive strategy to achieve the goal.

He said projects are being launched to generate cheap electricity through coal‚ wind‚ hydel and solar resources. He said the nation is facing grave energy crisis due to wrong policies of the previous governments.

Nawaz Sharif said the government is also taking measures to reduce line losses and improve power distribution system‚ which can help reduce load shedding.

He said projects were being launched to generate cheap electricity through coal, wind, hydel and solar resources. He said the nation was facing grave energy crisis due to wrong policies of the previous governments.

Nawaz Sharif said the government was also taking measures to reduce line losses and improve power distribution system, which could help reduce load shedding.

The Prime Minister said Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) had committed to fund Karachi Circular Railway project.

He said JICA would provide up to two billion dollars for the project and soon talks on this project with the Japanese agency would be initiated.

He said due to wrong policies and decisions of the previous governments, the government had to take loan from the IMF. He mentioned that India had came out of the IMF programme and hoped that Pakistan’s economic situation would also improve.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar while briefing the federal cabinet said due to the government’s economic measures in six months, the budget deficit had been reduced from 8.8 to 8.2 percent.

He said 30 percent cut in the budgets of all ministries and affiliated departments and 40 percent in the finance ministry had been made on the directives of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

He said the discretionary funds of the Prime Minister and all ministers had also been abolished, which will save Rs 40 billion annually.
Dar said an additional amount of Rs 2 billion will be saved, as there will be a bar on secretaries not to become part of any board.

The Finance Minister said the government had banned the import of duty free vehicles to improve national economy.
He said the government cleared the circular debt of 480 billion rupees within 45 days after coming into power.

He said 1700 MW electricity had been added to system after payment of the circular debt. The Finance Minister dispelled the impression that notes were printed to pay circular debt.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar vowed to increase country’s foreign reserves up to 16 billion dollars in 12 months after tackling current account deficit.

He said the government was vigorously pursuing with non-conventional sources including launch of Euro bonds and remittances-based bonds.

The Finance Minister said through GSP Plus status, exports of the country were expected to increase by 1.5 to 2 billion dollars.
He said 800 million dollars from Etisalat will soon be recovered.

Meanwhile, talking to Ambassador of Japan Hiroshi Inomata here at the Prime Minister House in Islamabad, Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif said that his government looks forward to greater cooperation with Japan in trade, investment, development, energy and capacity building.

Prime Minister said Japan was a valuable development partner of Pakistan and its ongoing assistance in various social, educational and health projects were of high value. Prime Minister said the government was focused on creating sustained economic growth that would result in overall well being and progress of the people of Pakistan and in this endeavor; support from friends like Japan was highly appreciated.

While referring to his meeting with Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe on the margins of UNGA Session in New York last year, the Prime Minster said his meeting was very helpful in deepening understanding between the leadership of the two countries.

He said Pakistan looks forward to the visit of Japanese Prime Minister, which will complement efforts on both sides to further diversify and expand bilateral relations.

Muhammad Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan appreciates Japan’s interest in Karachi Circular Railway project and Underground Metro Systems in Karachi and Lahore.

Views were also exchanged on exchange of students and energy projects in Pakistan. Prime Minister said his government has initiated investor-friendly policies for foreign investors.

“We encourage Japanese investors to invest in Pakistan,” he said.
Japanese Ambassador re-iterated the commitment of the Government of Japan to further strengthening ties between the two governments and its people.

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