WASHINGTON: Finance Minister Muhammad Ishaq Dar says maximum relief will be given to salaried class and common man in the next budget and no drastic taxes are under consideration.
Addressing a news conference in Washington, the Finance Minister expressed the hope that GDP growth over five percent will be achieved during the current fiscal year. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said Pakistan is making an impressive headway in financial and digital inclusion.
During a 05-day visit in Washington DC, Ishaq Dar attended mandatory meetings of IMF and WB along with more than two dozen meetings on sidelines with officials of the State Department, Think tanks and members of the Pakistani diaspora, says a press release received here from Washington.
The Finance Minister gave a detailed round up on the plenary sessions with the IMF and World Bank during the press briefing. He said that there is a positive sentiment about the tremendous economic rebound experienced by Pakistan over last four years. Pakistan was at the verge of bankruptcy in 2014 and today Pakistan is likely to achieve approx. 5% growth rate during the current financial year.
Both IMF and WB are on the same page with the Govt. in these projections. The Global credit rating agencies have upgraded the rating of Pakistan from ‘negative’ to ‘stable’ and from stable to ‘positive’ over the years to an extent that the country is likely to be included in G-20 Countries by 2030.
Minister Dar further said that Pakistan has successfully completed the IMF program first time ever and is now considered as a case study of economic turnaround due to prudent fiscal & monetary policies and macro structural reforms.
During the course of Discussion, Minister Dar outlined the important financial initiatives to be undertaken by the Government in near future. Pakistan Infrastructure Bank would be established with a paid up capital of one billion dollars. It would finance private investors in development projects. Both IMF and Govt. of Pakistan would have 20% shares each and the rest would be met by international organizations such as IFC.
Minister Dar further said that Govt would soon be launching Pakistan Development Funds. The shares worth Rs.100 billion of the Pakistan Development Fund would be offered to Pakistani diaspora in order to channelize their valuable remittances effectively. Later on, the shares of the Pakistan Development Fund would be enlisted on Pakistan Stock Exchange. After success of Sukok Bonds, Pakistan Development Fund would be another attractive investment for overseas Pakistanis.
Minister Dar also mentioned that the Govt has entered into consultation with the World Bank to introduce solar energy as a new electricity generation alternative at a lowest cost in Pakistan. On the last day of the visit, Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar had a detailed meeting with the US National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. McMaster at the White House. During an hour long meeting, Minister Dar had a comprehensive discussion on topics such as Defence & security, Counter terrorism, Economy, Kashmir, Regional connectivity, Trade & finance etc. The Finance Minister highlighted the economic reforms agenda of the Prime Minister and updated US NSA on Pakistan’s security situation.
The Finance Minister Ishaq Dar reiterated that Pakistan would not allow its soil to be used against any country and at the same time, Pakistan expects the same level of commitment from other countries in the region.
In response to a question related to the decision of the Supreme Court on Panama, Minister Dar said that PML (N) Government has honoured the decision of the Apex Court and would welcome the formation of JIT within next 07 days as per judgement of the Court.
Towards the end of the briefing, Minister Dar emphasized that Pakistan has now emerged as a lucrative investment option for international investors and urged US multinational giants to consider Pakistan for establishing labor-intensive facilities in the South Asian region. NNI