Islamabad: Federal Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh briefed the Parliamentarians about the national economy while chairing a meeting here today. He highlighted the achievements so for made by this present government, hurdles and subsequent solutions in the way of Pakistan’s economy. He apprised of the three factors which are for causing the burden on our national economy. First, great flood in 2010 which caused damage of $ 10 billion as estimated by the World Bank, increase in oil prices at the international level, and security situation.
While highlighting the tax revenue position he said that 17% increase has been achieved during the last six months, export touched historical way by upto 28% with respect to previous year, and remittances showed a star performance. In addition to that, Foreign Exchange reserves touched the highest figure in the history of Pakistan, he said.
He also said that we are facing certain issues in power and gas sector, PIA, Railways, and Steel Mills but he said that the Cabinet Committee on Restructuring of the Public Sector enterprises has been relentlessly working on revamping of these enterprises and we have made certain very good advances in this regard, and hopefully these corporations shall start functioning under the economic vision of the present government. He said these issues are overshadowing our tremendous performance in economy and said that like Pakistan Steel Mills are always source of criticism on our government and this must be seen in the political context only. While pondering on the Railways he said that government has managed to create a Consortium of Banks to provide the requested Rs.6 billion to Pakistan Railways and said that government of Pakistan is paying the salaries and pension of Railway’s in service and retired workers. Although the Railways is a public sector corporation which should by itself arrange their salaries and pensions, moreover the government is going to pay to the electricity bill of Pakistan Railway also.
The meeting was told that the government has reached single digit inflation and in addition to that, export witnessed an increase by 4% in last six months, import increased by 18% which is also an indicator of increasing activity in our economic and commercial field.
The Minister hoped that government would receive $ 2.5 billion in foreign exchange in the coming months, from Etisalat’s pending dues, Coalition Support Fund form US, and Auction of 3-G Spectrum Licence. The Federal Minister has also said that the government must be credited for some of the outstanding measures taken for the improvement of country’s poor, that are the provision of Baluchistan Package, funding to the Gilgit Baltistan Province and AJK, plus the alleviation of poor through the Benazir Income Support Programme through which almost sixty lakhs poor families are getting financial help. As the gas is not been provided to the fertilizer plants, the government has decided to import 12 lakh tons of fertilizers so that the poor farmers may not affect. And in this regards, government is providing subsidy of Rs.40-50 billion on the prices of fertilizer to the farmers, the Minister said.
Before the conclusion of the briefing, most of parliamentarian appreciated the government performance in term of expenditure control and tax mobilization from new sources.
Chairman Federal Board of Revenue informed the Parliamentarian about the significant achievements in tax collection. He told that we have collected Rs. 840 billion through in last six months tax revenue by removing the tax exemption in many sectors.
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