Federal Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar has said that government is pursuing a three-point priority agenda, focused on addressing economy, energy and extremism to put economy back on track.
Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar stated this during a meeting with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns at State Department and discussed cooperation between the two countries.
The finance minister, who is heading a Pakistani delegation to Washington for World Bank-IMF annual meetings, was accompanied by Governor State Bank, Yaseen Anwar, Secretary Economic Affairs Divsion, Ms. Nargis Sethi and Charge d’ Affaires at Pakistani embassy Dr. Asad Majeed Khan.
On the U.S. side, the deputy secretary of state was assisted by Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan James Dobbins and Deputy Special Representative Daniel Feldman.
The finance minister informed Burns that the new government had taken politically tough decisions like increasing tariff on electricity and reducing subsidies in the sector as the electric tariff had not been increased in last 18 months due to political inaction. He said the new government has cleared a circular debt of over Rs 500 billion in 45 days and added 1700 MW of electricity to the system.
Senator Dar highlighted that the new government had inherited empty coffers as the tax revenue was barely Rs. 1936 billion against the target of Rs 2380. He said that Islamabad had set an ambitious target of increasing Tax Revenue by 28%. He also referred to approval of Dasu Hydropower project and the roadmap for construction of Diamir Bhasha Dam and thanked the United States for approving an amount of dollars 20 million for due diligence of Bhasha Dam.
The finance minister said the new government is coming up with a proactive energy policy to invite new investment in energy sector with a special emphasis on the renewable and cheap energy sources.
Deputy Secretary Burns appreciated the bold decisions taken by the Government and expressed hope that the American investors would benefit from the investor friendly policies of the government.
Earlier, Finance Minister Dar visited the U.S. Treasury Department and had a meeting with the Under Secretary David Cohen. During the meeting Senator Dar briefed the U.S. side about the actions taken by the new government to improve the documentation of economy and control illegal transfer of money which could be used for terrorist activities.
The finance minister informed Cohen that the government was giving incentives to promote transfer of money through official means. He apprised Cohen of pending legislation which would serve as deterrent and support these objectives. Cohen appreciated that the government was making serious efforts to control terrorist financing and expected that there would be positive outcomes from the next visit of Financial Action Task Force team next week.