Dar insists economy not sliding, says he won't resign

Lester Mason
October 17, 2017

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Monday, while presenting a report on the first quarter of the fiscal year 2018-19, claimed that the revenue collection targets have been achieved.

"Our focus is on higher growth that would help reduce poverty, generate resources and strengthen economic and security situation of the country", he said while addressing a press conference in Islamabad.

He said that steps have been taken to boost exports and lessen imports.

Dar directed the Finance Division to proactively work with the World Bank to ensure correct reporting of economic data.

He said the issue of wrong calculations of debt has been raised with the World Bank and will be rectified soon.

He said the government has managed to control expenditure to a large extent, adding that despite an increase in the revenue collection, the government only spent Rs 894bn as compared to Rs 914bn in the a year ago.

He said a recently published WB report had erroneously indicated Pakistan's gross external financing needs at $31 billion for the current fiscal year.

He further claimed that the inflation is under control and the interest rates are lowest in decades.

Ishaq Dar said major challenges facing the country have been addressed.

The report was based on misinterpretation of standard definition of the gross financing needs of the country, he said, adding that based on the global reporting standards, Pakistan's actual gross financing needs for fiscal year 2017-18 were estimated at $18 billion (5.3% of GDP) rather than $31 billion (9% of GDP).

He said that many worldwide agencies and organisations had given positive prospectus of Pakistan economy, some predicting it to be 16th biggest economy by 2050, others terming it next big country flag-bearer of positive change, some terming it emerging market, while the rating agencies had up-scaled it rating from negative to stable and then to positive. He said work is underway on power projects of ten thousand megawatt, of which 3600 megawatt power will be added in the national grid by the end of this year, which will end power load-shedding in the country.

Mentioning the state of the energy sector, the minister said the sector had been ignored for over a decade, with a circular debt standing at 503 billion rupees; however, the circular debt has been brought under 400 billion rupees, and the load shedding has been reduced to a large extent compared to the past, he added.

The acting finance secretary said in the first two months of current financial year, exports and remittances had improved.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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