Govt suggests all parties to ink charter of economy
Dar calls foreign investment a leading contributing factor in economic stability, growth
ISLAMABAD – Federal Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs Senator Ishaq Dar has emphasised the need for all political parties to ink a charter of economy which was the way to ensuring sustained economic development and continuity of policies.
Addressing a roundtable conference on investment opportunities, he said that there should be no politicking on economic matters, economy should be placed above all other considerations. He also said that it was investment that helped countries like China, India and other developing nations make economic headway.
“After achieving economic stability, we are now treading on the path to economic growth and foreign investment can be a leading contributing factor in our quest,” Dar said. With the dedicated efforts, “we have achieved merger of three stock exchanges into one Pakistan Stock Exchange,” he said, adding that this initiative has sent a positive signal to the foreign investors.
“We hope it would attract known international companies to our market,” the minister said. He also said that on one hand we have cut down on non-development expenditure by 30-40 per cent and on the other increased development expenditure. Development expenditure was recorded at Rs 315 billion in 2013 while we expect it to reach Rs 700 in this fiscal year.
Pakistan’s reserves stand at $18.5 billion, a record high and all international rating agencies hold our economy in high esteem, he said. He acknowledged that for economic growth it was necessary to ensure supply of energy. “We are working on that, we are all set to add over 10,000 mega watt of electricity to the national grid by the end of 2017,” he said.
“In step with that we are developing the evacuation and transmission system to ensure that the additional power could be properly utilized,” the minister said. He said that the government did not stop at that but also had initiated steps that could help generate more energy beyond 2018.
The finance minister said that the government had taken concrete measures to address the issue of militancy and restore normalcy. The All Parties Conference (APC) set the ball rolling and operation in Karachi was initiated in September 2013. In two years peace and normalcy have been restored in the metropolis to a large extent. The business community there is pleased about it.
The minister said that during last Eid-ul-Fitr, Karachi witnessed record sale worth Rs 90 billion. Millions from across the country thronged scenic spots in northern areas which was a sign of people’s building confidence in the security situation. He said that the launch of Zarb-e-Azb operation has greatly helped curb the scourge of militancy and a number of high profile targets He said that the international community should realize our sacrifices in the war on terror.
“We have suffered economic losses worth over $100 billion and also suffered over 50,000 casualties including civilians and military personnel in the war on terror.” Dar said that amelioration of the lot of most needy people was a priority for the government. He said that the sapling that he had planted in the form of Income Support Programme back in 2008 has now blossomed into a tree.
“We have taken its allocation from Rs 30 billion to Rs 102 billion in fiscal year 2015. The number of beneficiaries has likewise risen from three million in 2013 to 5.3 million in this fiscal year.” He also mentioned government’s resolve for nurturing regional cohesion on this occasion. He cited China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), CASA1000 and Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India Pipeline (TAPI) as examples to forge regional integration. He said that the government was pursuing these projects with zeal and vigour.
Finance minister also reiterated that promotion of tax culture in the country was very important for economic prosperity. He said that the government was willing to resolve all genuine problems of the traders and the business community. He lauded the efforts of the Pakistan Observer and BOI for holding the Roundtable Conference which he said helped generate interest among foreign investors to invest in Pakistan.
In coordination with the Board of Investment, a local English newspaper has organised the conference.