LAHORE - Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Saturday observed that value of dollar will come down sharply in near future, as the government is committed to bring the rate of greenback down as swiftly as was done in 1998-99. He said Pakistan is also trying its best to get maximum access to US markets, adding that duty-free access to the EU market will pave the way in this regard.
Addressing a function of the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association at Governor’s House, he said that PM Nawaz Sharif, during his recent visit to the US, had demanded the full access of Pakistan’s merchandize to its markets. He said to sustain dwindling national economy, the government has taken some unpopular and difficult steps and due to these measures economic indicators are showing positive signs whereas the foreign investors’ confidence to invest in Pakistan is also restored. He said that the European Union has granted Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) Plus status to Pakistan which would greatly help the country to boost its export.
In spite of adverse conditions, the economy showed robust growth in the first quarter of the current financial year. The foreign direct investment increased by 83pc, portfolio investment by 101pc and large-scale manufacturing grew by 8.5pc. “We are moving ahead as the international agencies have upgraded Pakistan by acknowledging its performance on the economic front. Donor agencies have also offered loans,” said the minister. About measures to overcome shortage of energy, Dar said that short- and medium-term plans had been launched to ensure supply of cheaper electricity to the masses.
He said due to corrective measures taken by government, budget deficit has been brought down to 2.2 per cent equal to Rs570 billion compared to 2.9 per cent equal to Rs690 billion last year. The minister said revenue collection witnessed 17 per cent growth, adding that the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has collected a tax revenue of Rs792 billion as against Rs679 billion last year. Ishaq Dar said the government, during the first quarter of the current financial year, has released Rs143 billion against the total allocation of Rs340 billion under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP).
The government was working on different power sector development projects to overcome the energy issues for rapid economic development, said Dar, adding that work on Nelum-Jehlum Hydro Project has been expedited and was expected to be completed by 2016.
He further said that exchange rate stability was gradually returning as it had improved during last days, adding that the government was determined to bring foreign exchange reserves up $20 billion by the year 2016.
Addressing the meeting, Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar urged the textile sector to take full advantage of the Generalised System Preferences (GSP) Plus status. Punjab Governor Ch Mohammad Sarwar said that Pakistan gained the GSP Plus status with team efforts led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Addressing a special convocation held at Governor’s House on Saturday for awarding honorary degrees of PhD to David Martin and Sajjad Karim, Members of European Parliament (MEP), the governor said the Commerce Ministry, Foreign Office and friends of Pakistan in Europe had worked hard and their efforts were laudable. He said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was taking effective measures to improve the economy, adding the government was also working to overcome the loadshedding problem besides eradicating extremism.
The governor said the GSP status would help boost exports and revive the national economy. He said the nation was greatful to the EU for the status. David Martin said the GSP Plus status would help create jobs and improve health and education sectors. Sajjad Karim said Pakistan and the EU should work to develop good ties.