ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is on track and following the benchmarks agreed with IMF which was in line with its plans to carry out reforms in the economy.
This was stated by Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar while talking to the German Ambassador Dr. Cyrill Nunn who called on him at his office.
The Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar said that PML-N government have carried out most of the reforms agreed with IMF irrespective of the programme as it was a part of its manifesto and plan to revive the economy of Pakistan.
The German Ambassador informed the Finance Minister that the German business community is keenly following the economic policies and measures being pursued by the present government and views them as positive and in the right direction.
The Finance Minister while appreciating the views of German business community and government gave a brief overview of the measures taken by the present government which had inherited a broken economy besides a revenue deficit of over Rs.450 billion.
The Finance Minister recalled that the first dignitary who met Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif after he was sworn in as Prime Minister was German Foreign Minister. During the meeting he enquired from the Prime Minister regarding government’s plan to clear the outstanding dues of IPPs. As he was present on the occasion, he responded by assuring the German Foreign Minister that these would be cleared within 60 days.
The Finance Minister said that the circular debt of Rs.480 billion was cleared within 45 days which resulted in addition of 1700 MW to the national grid.
The German Ambassador said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is credited with tackling real issues and energy is an issue of paramount importance to Pakistan.
Senator Ishaq Dar said that after presenting the budget which included measures of taxation agreed to with the IMF by the Care-Taker Government, he simultaneously engaged the IMF to address the critical issue of repaying loans obtained by previous governments.
The conclusion of the programme with IMF was an uphill task given the failure of the past governments to adhere to commitments made with IMF.
The Finance Minister said that the government had an option to approach the Paris Club but decided against it in favour of approaching the IMF in the national interest. The Finance Minister said that Pakistan was course to achieve fiscal stability.
He said that an aggressive target of Rs.2475 billion was set to lift the tax collecting machinery out of its slumber which had performed dismally in the previous year.
The Finance Minister said that the revenue collection was continuously on the path of improvement. After recording 17 percent growth in revenues during the first quarter of the current financial year, the FBR has now surpassed the target set for November. This he said was achieved by reorganizing the FBR, appointments on merit, shunning of cronyism and stopping leakages.
The Finance Minister also drew the attention of German Ambassador to the 31 Public Sector Enterprises identified by the government which will be handed over to strategic partners with 26% shares and management.
The Finance Minister said that the PML-N is working on a new exploration and production policy which will provide attractive incentives and a competitive edge to investors and also help Pakistan to exploit its natural resources. This he said would unleash tremendous economic activity and provide an opportunity to German investors to benefit by making investments in Pakistan. He asked the German Ambassador to sensitize German investors of this new opening in Pakistan.